Written in the program pages of “The Alembic,” you will see acknowledgements of those talented minds that assisted Terra Mysterium with the physical aesthetics for the show, Terra Mysterium’s own Kat O’Connor for the use of her brilliance in Marketing, the theatre spaces who so graciously allowed us to share their space during the rehearsal process, and of course the friends and family of Terra Mysterium who contributed funding to the project. I would particularly like to thank those financial contributors who donated funds when I personally asked: My brother, Jim Christensen, my favorite Steampunk Band, V Is For Villains, my friends Cathy McManamon, Joshua Safford, Krista Hanson, Angie Buchanan, and Drake Spaeth and those friends determined to help me in other ways, like Sue Borremons and Joan Forest Mage. In addition to these donors there are some other people I, as the writer of “The Alembic,” would very much like to thank.
The first person is of course the woman who gave birth to “The Alembic” project with me,
Two summers ago both Shannah and I had profound spiritual and personal experiences that we were attempting to process, and being the creative people we are, we decided to compose a musical. At the beginning, we weren’t sure what the course would be, but we knew we wanted a story that incorporated alchemy and strong female characters. It was Shannah Lessa who helped design the characters and the story structure. It is common for stories to change from the outline in development, but in the case of “The Alembic” Shannah’s clear and planned outline became a consistent anchor for me as I wrote the script and music. It was also Shannah who christened the project with the title, “The Alembic.”
I would like to point out that Shannah and I came up with the idea for “The Alembic” at the inaugural summer retreat in 2010 “Oasis” hosted by Earth Traditions. Earth Traditions provided just the right atmosphere for Shannah and me to evaluate our personal experiences and recycle them into art.
I must also thank again my Leanan Sidhe, for I never would have been able to identify with my lead character’s longing had it not been for you.
I am profoundly grateful for the inspirational talents of Terra Mysterium. Kat O’Connor’s fluid but powerful presence became the backbone of Mrs. Sorenson,
Song Marshall’s quiet yet potent strength fueled the divine force which became Astraea.
Keith Green’s resonant voice and grace not only helped me design the character of Phineas, but he further assisted me with proper Victorian intonation and helped me tighten the script and the overall message.
I must also mention the talented Sean Wilson.
He breathed life into the role of Sorenson. The God of theatre, Dionysus and His Wife, Ariadne couldn’t have provided a better player.
Jessie Lynn Whitington, our stage manager deserves an enormous thank you for her organization in rehearsals, and for tolerating me when I called for lines in rehearsal as a performer, even though I wrote the lines and therefore, should have already known them.
Finally, I must thank Matthew Ellenwood, who despite my flippancy, neurotic and morose behavior continues to put up with me. I have never met a person who believed in me so much. First, he gave me back performance, then he called me a song writer, and then, he actually let me write him a play. With Keith Green, he kept me on track and called out the problem points of the script. He was responsible for the words of Astraea and of course he and the lovely, Marissa Deitz fleshed out my simple melodies and divined them into songs that made me weep.
I call Matthew “Yoda;” because in addition to being quirky, likeable and at times, the comic relief, he is without question, a wise man who knows more than most and he is “he who has taught me much.” Matthew, and all who I’ve mentioned, thank you for believing in me. You will always have my gratitude.
“The Alembic” opens tomorrow, Friday, August 31, 2012 as a part of the 2012 Chicago Fringe Festival.