The Role of Music in The Tooth of Crime
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On November 15th, 1990, the Kalamazoo College Department Of Theater And Communication Arts opened its fall production of Sam Shepard's The Tooth Of Crime. This "rock and roll fable" was directed by Ed Menta, containing music written by Sam Shepard, Ed Menta, and myself, Brad Crandall. As the musical director, I was responsible for directing the music, as well as attending cast rehearsals, and conducting band rehearsals. Some of Shepard's music was arranged by Ed and I, and some music we composed ourselves. Ed and I started working of the project during the summer quarter. I met with him to discuss the play, and how we might use music in the play. The first time I read through the play I kept waiting for something to come along and explain what was actually happening. Nothing in the text offered the answers, and I was thoroughly confused. It took a few more readings to begin to understand the language and action of the play. At first I had no idea as to how music would fit in this play. As I said, Ed and I began to discuss the possibilities for music, and the themes the music would have to convey.Our first task was to find a band. We wanted to involve as many students as possible, but we realized it would take good musicians to give the music the force it needed. After a few auditions and some recruiting, we ended up with a four piece rock and roll band consisting of drums, bass, and two guitars. After casting the band, we then held auditions for the cast. I began to go to all the rehearsals to understand the characters, and get the actors used to working with music. Our experiments, and the openess of the actors helped me compose new music and arrange the old. The aim of this paper is to describe how and why we used the music in the show. To understand the roll of music in sam Shepard's play we must first try to understand some of Sam Shepard's musical background.
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