Through A Glass, Darkly

November 2007

Through A Glass, Darkly project image

Original music, lyrics, and story by Michael Shaieb for a 45 minute choral oratorio looking at the effects of crystal meth addiction in the GLBT community. Commissioned by Dr. Stan Hill and the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus for their 2008 season and their performance at the GALA Choruses Festival 2008 in Miami.

Written for men’s chorus and 3 male soloists, the story follows a 36-hour period in the life of Sebastian, a young and successful businessman, as he ‘hits bottom’ due to his chronic use of methamphetamine. Sebastian is about to lose everything and everyone close to him, while both his long-time partner Zack and one-night-stand Billy face the cold truth that they have been lied to and left behind.

Through A Glass, Darkly is about shattered dreams, dreams unrealized, and dreams deferred. It is about the fear of being alone, the fear of not fitting in, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world. It explores the truth that, with support from our friends, we can gain the insight to see life more clearly.

As the scene opens, Sebastian, a successful Wall Street-type and meth addict, sneaks out of the house he shares with his long-time partner Zack and heads out to a club in search of new adventure (Opener). There, he seduces a fresh new face, Billy, and they retire to a hotel where Sebastian introduces him to the drug (Stay A While). Billy and Sebastian get high (Transitions). Sebastian quickly tires of Billy and the situation and seeks a way to duck out (Just Another Night). After Sebastian leaves, Billy and Zack separately find themselves awaiting Sebastian’s return. Zack decides to leave, begins to pack a suitcase, and finds an old photo album. He nostalgically flips through it, recalling better times (The Ordinary Things).

The story pauses for a commentary on the absurd commonness of crystal meth’s ingredients and its devastating effects on the body (Making It). The Chorus comments on the surreal denials of the meth epidemic, as drugs are not conversation for polite company (Let’s Pretend).

Background

Originally commissioned by Dr. Stan Hill and the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus for their 2007-2008 season and underwritten through the generosity of Alan Braun.

The world premiere was March 29, 2008 at Ted Mann Hall on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. Twin Cities Public TV taped this concert along with interviews with the soloists and artistic team. The video premiered statewide in Minnesota on June 21, 2008 and is available for purchase on DVD from TCGMC.org.

Synopsis

Billy and Zack, in their separate worlds, each find themselves now wondering where Sebastian is and when he might return (Any Minute Now). But Sebastian is nowhere to be found, and friends and neighbors start to notice his absence (Did You Know). The Chorus reflects on our search for love, and our dreams which we sometimes have to set aside for another day (We Hope). Messages to Sebastian go unanswered – he has lost his job, is losing his friends, and leaves everyone in the dark (Messages). Upon returning home, Sebastian denies that he has a problem and turns his wrath upon Zack, the one person who has supported him for years (What Problem). Zack laments what they have lost to the drug, and Sebastian sees his reflection in the mirror for the first time and what he has become (If You Only Knew).

Reactions

You were telling my story… speaking to me about the lives that I have affected… you left us with that one sentence that all addicts are longing to hear, we are beautiful. You nailed a very tough subject on the head.- T.

I cannot remember another time that I observed the Chorus living [their] mission statement more fully.- anonymous

Being a former meth user, I feel that I have found some redemption through this show.- M.B.



Credits

Book, Music & Lyrics


History

July 8, 2012
"If You Only Knew"

Heartland Men’s Chorus
GALA 2012 Concert Block
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Denver, CO

April 9, 2011
April 10, 2011

West Coast Premiere

San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus
Lawrence Family Jewish Community Centers of San Diego County
David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre
San Diego, CA

June 30, 2010
"High" concert

New York City Gay Men’s Chorus
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, NYU
New York, NY

April 16, 2010
April 17, 2010

"Here & Now" concert

The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus
Arden Theatre
Philadelphia, PA

June 6, 2009
June 7, 2009

Pride Show 2009

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC
Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University
Washington, DC

July 15, 2008
July 16, 2008

GALA Choruses Festival 2008

Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus
Ziff Ballet Opera House
Miami, FL

March 29, 2008
March 30, 2008

World Premiere

Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus
Tedd Mann Hall, University of Minnesota Campus
Minneapolis, MN


News

April 7, 2011
Advance press for San Diego "Darkly"

Gay Men’s Chorus wants to ‘friend’ you this weekend –Charlene Baldridge, sdnews.com, April 7, 2011 “Friend Me” featuring “Through A Glass, Darkly” –performingartslive.com

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February 23, 2011
West Coast Premiere of "Through A Glass, Darkly" Announced

The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus will be performing the West Coast premiere of Mike’s oratorio Through A Glass, Darkly on April 9-10, 2011 in La Jolla at the 500-seat Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center’s David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre.

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May 16, 2010
NY Premiere of "Through A Glass, Darkly"

The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus under the direction of Dr. Charles Beale will be premiering Through A Glass, Darkly on June 30, 2010 at 8pm, at the NYU Skirball Center in Greenwich Village, NYC.

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June 4, 2009
Advance press for D.C. "Darkly", part 2

More advance press at metroweekly.com for the D.C. performances of Mike’s Through A Glass, Darkly:

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May 11, 2009
Advance press for "Darkly" in Washington DC

Dan O’Neill writes a great article for the upcoming production of Mike’s Through A Glass, Darkly, performed by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC:

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February 15, 2009
Where to find us in '09 (and a 2008 wrap-up)

2008 ended with the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus premiere of Mike’s oratorio Through A Glass, Darkly being cited for Outstanding Achievement in Opera by MN’s Lavender Magazine (Thanks! But…opera?). At least five more choruses around the country have expressed interest in staging their own concert productions in the near-future.

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June 24, 2008
Big Week In Review, In Pictures

Through A Glass, Darkly premiered on PBS in Minnesota last Saturday night, while Go-Go Beach simultaneously turned 100 (performances…ever) the same night.

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June 8, 2008
"Through A Glass, Darkly" to air June 21 on Minnesota Public TV

Twin Cities Public Television will be airing the premiere broadcast of Mike’s theatrical-concert about meth addiction – “Through A Glass, Darkly”. Hey Minnesotans: set your TiVos for TPT-17 on Saturday, June 21 from 8-9pm central. For the rest of us out-of-towners, we will find out if TPT streams online, and we’ll post ordering info when DVDs go on-sale.

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March 23, 2008
An Easter Parade of "Darkly" publicity

Minnesota’s giant newspaper, the StarTribune, is running a feature about this weekend’s upcoming premiere of “Through A Glass, Darkly”. (If they ask you to pay, just delete your .startribune.com cookies…shhh!)

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March 19, 2008
"Darkly" cover story in this week's Lavender

This week’s Lavender magazine (Minnesota’s GLBT magazine) has a great cover story feature on “Through A Glass, Darkly”.

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March 14, 2008
Photos from Minneapolis "Darkly" rehearsal

Mike and I just returned from a quick trip to Minneapolis to check in on final preparations for the “Through A Glass, Darkly” concert (March 29 & 30!). We had production meetings and met the sound recorder and the video team – and best of all, we sat in on last Tuesday’s rehearsal where we heard the entire piece performed live.

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November 17, 2007
"Through A Glass, Darkly" to premiere in Minneapolis

Save the date! Mike’s newest work gets its World Premiere on March 29 and 30, 2008, Minneapolis.

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