In Search of vintage Theremin

Posted: 6/29/2007 2:45:52 PM
Bluecaketheatre

From: Brooklyn

Joined: 6/29/2007

The Blue Cake Theatre Company presents "Theremin" in the 2007 NYC Fringe Festival at the Players Theater. Based on the bizarre, epic true story of Leon Theremin: founder of electronic music. From jazz age New York to the Soviet gulags, from the KBG to matinee horror flicks; all seen through the eyes of an unstable rock legend!

Posted: 6/29/2007 3:48:29 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Sounds really cool.
Sorry not sure I can help with a real vintage instrument they tend to be rare and pricey.
Usually they turn up on E-Bay, I'd look there first.

If by chance you are in need of a thereminist please let me know, am in NYC but my instrument is not an old one.

Best of luck and keep us posted on this production!
Posted: 6/29/2007 10:17:00 PM
Jon B

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 8/11/2005

Is this the same play that was performed in Boston a couple of years ago? The one where "Rockmore" was Clara's maiden name?
Posted: 6/29/2007 10:19:35 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

For the theatre, it only has to LOOK LIKE a vintage theremin. That's what theatre is all about....illusion.

All you need to do is find someone who can mock up a realistic looking RCA cabinet that can house an Etherwave or some other decent theremin. It doesn't have to made out of solid mahogany...it only needs to LOOK like it is.
Posted: 6/29/2007 10:32:09 PM
Jon B

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 8/11/2005

OK, I just checked some old emails, and Blue Cake Theater was the name of the company that did the Boston show, so it's probably the same one. Here is what I wrote on Levnet about it when I saw it performed in Dec. 2004. I hope it's undergone some revisions.

-------------

I just saw the stage production of "Theremin: A Play in Two Acts Through the Eyes of Brian Wilson". You might remember me posting last week [Dec. 2004] with a link to the Boston Phoenix, where I expressed concern that the play would perpetuate two myths -- that Theremin was abducted by the KGB, and that Good Vibrations used a theremin. Oh, would that those were the only two historical inaccuracies in the play! In fact, it would probably be easier for me to list the things they got right.

The structure of the play is somewhat clever -- Brian Wilson has checked himself into a mental hospital. While there, he relates the story of this obscure inventor who changed the face of music. The action cuts back and forth between Brian as narrator and the other actors dramatizing Theremin's life. Here is a synopsis of the story Brian tells:

~~~~

Young Leon Theremin arrives on a ship from Russia with his Uncle Alexander. They have arrived for one purpose -- to stage a concert in one week's time that will show off Theremin's new musical invention. Alexander has been given the name of a talented player -- "C. Rockmore." They hope that "he" is really as talented as they've been told. The next day they arrive at the rehearsal studios. Brief wackiness ensues when they discover that C. Rockmore is actually a woman! A sassy attractive single American woman!! Alexander is skeptical, but she wows them with her ability. It's probably worth noting that we don't actually hear the theremin until the very end of the play. As Clara is about to play, the action switches to Brian who describes her talent in flowery terms, then cuts back to Leon, Alexander, and Clara, post-performance.

Leon and Clara get to rehearsing and there is clearly an attraction between them. At one point, Clara convinces the shy and slightly stuffy Leon to take a break from practicing and go for a walk in the park. As their attraction builds, Alexander looks on suspiciously and warns Leon not to get too close to these Capitalistic Americans. The concert is a rousing success. At the post-concert party, Leon and Clara make goo-goo eyes at each other on a balcony. Alexander tells Leon to come inside to meet the Mayor, but Leon gets distracted by his goo-goo-eyeing activities. As he is about to declare his love to Clara, Alexander returns, furious and drunk, and drags Leon back to their hotel.

At the hotel, Leon and Alexander get into a huge fight. Alexander warns Leon that he must stay away from Clara. Leon tells Alexander that he loves Clara and plans to stay in America. With that, he storms out of the hotel room and visits Clara at her apartment. He declares his love; she reciprocates; they kiss. They discuss their mutual love of ice skating. Leon tells Clara about his theory of the Ether -- that all voices throughout history are still floating out there waiting to be captured. Clara tells Leon that she has written a song she wants to play for him, but she needs to go and get the music. While she's away, Alexander appears at the front door. He tells Leon to come with him, or two burly KGB henchmen waiting outside will take him by force. Leon is furious at Alexander's betrayal, but agrees to go peacefully. As he's about to leave, Clara reappears. He tells her to wait for him; she promises to wait; they cry; he leaves. End of Act One.

Act Two begins some years later with Leon alone in a cold prison. Only his love of Clara keeps him going. Meanwhile, Clara, still single, has been reduced to performing in church basements. At one such performance, she meets a young Brian Wilson and encourages him to pursue his musical dreams. Curiously, at the end of this scene, the
Posted: 7/6/2007 2:11:59 PM
Bluecaketheatre

From: Brooklyn

Joined: 6/29/2007

Jon B,
Thank you so much for your post, we all really appreciate when people notice our work and have things to say about it. The version of our play, Theremin, that is opening in NYC in August has undergone several major rewrites and is drastically different from the Boston production both in form and content. We've been working very hard to make the play even more dynamic and exciting, while also delving deeper into the nuances and complexities of the life of Leon Theremin. We've been working on this play on and off for nearly five years now, it is a real labor of love for us and it is always a pleasure to receive feedback from others who are passionate about Theremin and his amazing life and work.
-Bluecake
Posted: 7/6/2007 2:25:02 PM
Bluecaketheatre

From: Brooklyn

Joined: 6/29/2007

Omhoge,
Hey, this is the blue cake theatre company, we're doing a play based on the life of Leon Theremin this august for the fringe festival. We have recently purchased a theremin and we were wondering if you would be interested in giving some cast members a little tutorial. Please drop us a line if you're interested and we can hammer out the details. Thanks again.
Blue cake

bluecaketheatre@gmail.com
Posted: 8/13/2007 4:54:48 AM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Jon B
>>"I hope it's undergone some revisions."
We must always keep hope.

Having worked with writer/directors who could not cut or refractor their work it, was incredibly encouraging to hear that these young artists have done several rewrites and remain passionate about the story of the Theremin.

The one act version currently in production is greatly restructured and improved. I believe it's an excellent theremin out reach piece and an entertaining piece of theater to boot.
Posted: 8/13/2007 8:24:53 AM
Jon B

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 8/11/2005

[i]>>The one act version currently in production is greatly restructured and improved.[/i]

That's good to hear. Is there still a beautiful young sassy American unmarried thereminist named "C. Rockmore"?
Posted: 8/13/2007 9:12:39 AM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Well there's a beautiful young sassy Russian unmarried thereminist named "Clara Rockmore".

Still, it weaves in more of the real key truths of Lev's time in the US than the famous documentary did. But is is a play not a biography, and is definately getting the aether-word out there.

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