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Pennard: A Rock Opera

Pennard: A Rock Opera

I recorded the demos for Pennard on cassette 4-track in Dallas, playing and singing everything myself. The recordings featured here are taken from six live performances in Seattle that were then mixed down in the studio.


Pennard: A Rock Opera

by Tom Wiseley

Contents

Prologue (Wind in Wales)

Sand in Wales

King

Getting toKnow You (Part One)

Love Song

The Innocent Song

Bargain

Euchre

Getting to Know You (Part Two)

Finale Postlogue (Sandstorm)

The Story:

There is a castle in Wales that stands buried to it’s battlements in sand. The history of the castle is obscure but there is a local legend: The Orgy at Castle Pennard. In the Dark Ages, Wales was a battleground for rival kingdoms. A group of mercenary warriors grew out of the turmoil, independent of any king. Their home was the Castle Pennard. Their leader enjoyed the greatest wealth and fame in the land. For a handsome reward, he and his men would ride to battle for any king, any cause. But the men of Pennard were lost to history with one fateful mistake. A king to the north had called upon them to come without delay, promising any price if they could ensure him victory. Upon his return from the sucessful battle, the leader of the men requested the hand of the king’s daughter. The king objected but his daughter was vain and shortsighted and asked her father’s permission to go. Reluctantly, he consented. With his new bride, the leader set off for Pennard with his men. On the way to the castle,the princess rode behind the leader and listened to his grim tales of battle. He told her of the wild feast they would have once they returned to Pennard.“There will be wine, food, women for my men and y​ou​ for me!” The princess was dismayed. That night, they reveled in victory at Pennard. The feast went far into the night. Mountains of meat and seas of ale. ​​Few were left standing when a sentinel appeared from the watch tower to report a huge host of figures approaching on the battle plain before the castle. The leader sprang from his seat and roused as many of his drunken men as he could.  The warriors rushed out onto the battlefield to meet the approaching figures. They found themselves face-to-face with a group of shimmering apparitions, glowing silvery-white. In terror, they drew their swords and began slashing and hacking at the figures. The figures vanished, leaving the men dumbfounded. It had been a group of fairies who had come to dance on the princess’ wedding night. As the men stood amazed, the sky clouded over and the wind began to howl. As the men stumbled blindly about, the wind brought a mountain of sand down upon them.Their castle was laid to waste. As the storm settled and dawn broke, all that could be seen was the battlement of Pennard.

--​from "Welsh Walks and Legends",​ by Showell Styles

Prologue (Wind in Wales)

(Bare stage--split level. Dawn flickers across the cyc as the music rises. Amidst clamoring themes and washes of sound a driving beat emerges. HERO is seen. He stands without movement and sings as the music merges into one whispering chord)

HERO:

My father was a free man He taught me to take my stand

He died sooner but lived more than most

The day I lost my family I swore death would never catch me

And I began to run from my own ghost

But something brings us face-to-face although I run from place to place

And I find myself alone and growing tired

I try to be a free man I kill to beat death and here I am

Stealing time and fighting fire with fire

The wind in Wales is fine

All my days are mine

I’m a horseman riding off with time

(The FAIRIES enter and dance. Their movements are gentle and flowing)

Prologue (Sand in Wales)

(The FAIRIES move to the upper level. The WARRIORS enter. Their movements are athletic and acrobatic)

FAIRIES:  

The castle Pennard stands in Wales

Where Warriors made their stand and failed

Swords had lost to sand goes the tale

Among the men a man

(The WARRIORS break apart to reveal Hero.The Fairies part to reveal KING, QUEEN, DAUGHTER, FLUNKIE, ENTOURAGE)

Up upon his throne the King Safe and warm at home sitting

Reaping blood alone, forgetting How gold can turn you cold

The king he needs the man to fight

KING:

Come and save my land tonight

Of the riches in my hand by right

All that you desire is yours

(HERO turns to see DAUGHTER who exits with ENTOURAGE. WARRIORS exit)

HERO:

The wind in Wales is fine

All my days are mine

I’m a horseman riding off with time

(HERO exits)

FAIRIES:

Tra la

Fly far

Doo da

Uh huh

Wise words

Worth what

When you’re

On top?

(Exeuent. Lights out)

King

(Fanfare. Lights up on throne room. KING leads procession onstage. He is eating, attended by FLUNKIE. As KING struts about, FLUNKIE picks up what is thrown)

KING:

I am the shaper, I am the King

God is kind of like me

I’ve got a house, it’s pretty big

It’s got a balcony

Objects are objects, so are subjects

They’re placed where I want them to be

I am the mover, I am the man

I’m the majestic monarch

Don’t be decieved--It’s just a game

But don’t forget who holds the cards

Maybe you like me and maybe you don’t

But you’ll make me feel loved if you’re smart

(He giggles and leads the procession off. DAUGHTER is at the tail of the line and lingers as HERO appears downstage. He sees her)

Getting to Know You (Part One)

HERO:

Strong

True

Worn torn

And Blue

So

I’ve been bought and sold

I got old

Learning what I know

See me as the answer

Stop the spinning world

Nothing else would matter

Nothing else but you

Give me have me take me

Share some simple time

Where would I be If you were mine?

DAUGHTER:

Soft

Tender as a dove

Forlorn and lonely

Peeking at you

So

Cold

Hold me hold me hold on

I just hope you

See me as the answer

Stop the spinning world

Nothing else would matter

Nothing else but you

Give me have me take me

Share some simple time

Where would I be If you were mine?

(They come together. Gentle. Not sexual. Lights fade with music)

Love Song

(WARRIORS crash onstage and spar with gymnastics, acrobatics, etc.)

WARRIORS:

I love to move, I love no tomorrow

Where I was and where I’ll be

Are sunk in wine and sorrow

I love my skin, Don’t you?

Tough as leather, dry inside

Only swords get through

I love to hate, blame my skin

Love’s too thick to penetrate and hate is love worn thin

I love to sleep--sleep ain’t easy

When I’m dead I’ll sleep like lead

A sleep like that would please me

I love to move, I love no tomorrow

Where I was and where I’ll be

Are sunk in wine and sorrow

(WARRIORS move on. HEARTS lags behind. He’s older, winded, good-natured. As he listens to the WARRIORS fade in the distance, he hears the FAIRIE’S theme, which fades as well, leaving him delighted and saddened)

The Innocent Song

HEARTS

In days gone by, for years to come

If I could start again, be anyone

I’d head down south with my old girl

And grab a piece of big town fun

She’s always said my heart’s too big

To live off war, to be at peace with it

And ya know, I’d laugh at my old girl

But as years roll by, I’m surely gettin’ tired of it

I think it’s more my style to leave ‘em with a smile

What I’d really like to do--what I woulda shoulda could do

Is graba handa sanda shuffle shoe

(He pulls a handfull of sand from his pocket and pours onto the ground. His soft-shoe is no better than his singing--more loveable than talented. Finishes CS and bows. Blackout)

Bargain

(Lights up on the marketplace. WARRIORS and FARIES double as merchants, vendors, hustlers)

COMPANY:

Hey woah gimmie wanna wanna gimmie, etc.

(Procession enters upstage. KING, DAUGHTER and HERO move center)

DAUGHTER:

Let me say goodbye now, father

Please don’t make it hard for me

‘Cause I would leave one way or another

KING:

Have you even thought of me? Have you stopped...

DAUGHTER:

I have stopped and stopped and stopped

And never even been alive

This man could give me a lot

He’ll take me where the folks are always high

Bye bye...

HERO:

All we’re saying...

KING:

You’ve a lot of nerve to come here, blow your kisses and drink my wine

HERO:

You’ve a lot of nerve to say that

KING:

You’ve a job and not much time

Not much time, so don’t waste mine

What’s the price? Name your price

DAUGHTER:

It could cost his life

HERO:

It could cost my life

KING:

It could cost your life

Let me try to choke the tears back--coming from a man like you

You murder like you’re drinking water and line your pockets when you’re through

Land or money, stock or grain: Pick your poison, wear your shoe

Name the price--we’ll have a bargain. You have my word

HERO:

The girl will do

KING:
The girl?
HERO:
The girl
KING:
Not subject to negotiation
This is blood not stock or grain
What has a man in your position
Got to offer her but pain?
COMPANY:
Hey woah gimmie wanna wanna gimmie, etc.
KING:
Suppose I were to have you shackled
Stripped of skin and hung to dry?
HERO:
You overestimate my sense of humor
DAUGHTER:
You underestimate my will to fly
HERO:
Somehow these brass tacks elude you
I want to make this crystal clear
Eitquette aside, you’re in no Position to make a deal here
KING:
Then let me humbly accept this lemmon
And try to squeeze out something sweet
You win this battle you can have her
Pennard is mine if you get beat

HERO:

Pennard?

KING:

Pennard

HERO:

You have a bargain for a battle
Take my hand and seal the pact
KING:
I’d rather have your word in writing
Just in case you don’t get back
COMPANY:
Hey woah gimmie wanna wanna gimmie, etc.
Euchre
(A clearing in the woods. Campfire. Warriors slowly gather, drunk and happy. Tableis placed at which sit HEARTS, CLUBS, DIAMONDS and ALONE. Cards are dealt to a stomp, clap, jug-blowing groove)
HEARTS:
Pass
CLUBS:
Pass
ALONE:
Pass
DIAMONDS
(knocks)
HEARTS:
Pass
CLUBS:
Pass
ALONE:
Pass
DIAMONDS:
Hearts
HEARTS:
(Plays his card and begins, a capella)
Any time you cook the soup, I’ll eat it
Maggie I am awful fond of you
When you bite my neck, I say what the heck
And say another one last I love you
(Deals)
Two three four
(Slams face card down. Players pick up hands)
CLUBS:
Pass
ALONE:
Pass
DIAMONDS:
(knocks)
HEARTS:
Pass
(CLUBS Plays his card and begins)
CLUBS:
Clubs are something I have always known
The smell of blood is just the smell of home
So if I chop you up, Please don’t take it rough
You might just say I have a kiss of stone
(Lights isolate ALONE and stomp-clap becomes finger snap)
ALONE:

Alone.

I’m going it Alone.

I’m going it Alone.

I’ve had the rug pulled out beneath me

So many times I finally seen

The closest I should get

Is back-to-back in sweat

Don’t try to touch my heart

Just let me be

(Deals. Stomp-clap resumes. Lights back to normal.)

Two three four

(Slams face card down. Players pick up hands)

DIAMONDS:

(knocks)

HEARTS:

Pass

CLUBS:

Pass

ALONE:

Pass

DIAMONDS:

(knocks)

HEARTS:

Pass

CLUBS:

Pass

ALONE:

Pass

(All throw in hands. Stomp-clap halts)

ALONE:

Your deal

(Stomp-clap resumes)

DIAMONDS: (Very drunk, deals poorly)

Three two three two two three two three

Diamonds get the sharpest cleanest cut

Of any other weapon I know of

Right and wrong are chance

But one sure thing’s finance

Smiles may lie, but coin will win my trust

(Stomp-clap halts. WARRIORS lean together in clusters. Barbershop)

WARRIORS:

I am grieving the loss of my smile And I’ll prob’ly bite dust in a while

I’m making the most of what’s already a ghost  

Loo la la la Loo la la la Loo loo loo

(Stomp clap resumes then fades as game resumes)

HEARTS:

Pass

CLUBS:

Pass

ALONE:

Pass

DIAMONDS:

(knocks)

Etc.

(Fade out)

Getting to Know You (PartTwo)

(Another clearing in the woods)

HERO:

There’s nothing like a woman’s touch

There’s nothing that I like so much

The only thing that soothes my heart

Is when I’m held

And it’s been such a long long time for me

BOTH:

Getting to know you

What can I show you?

What will it come to?

What do you see?

Getting to hold you

What can you see through?

I’m sure they told you

Things about me

DAUGHTER:

You do not seem right to me

There are things I did not see

This is turning out all wrong

I am very sorry

BOTH:

Getting to know you

What can I show you?

What will it come to?

What do you see?

Getting to hold you

What can you see through?

I’m sure they told you

Things about me

HERO:

Why am I doing this to me?

There’s better places I could be

You pull me in but out of reach

The night is young, I’ll take you home

And then we’ll see

BOTH:

Getting to know you

What can I show you?

What will it come to?

What do you see?

Getting to hold you

What can you see through?

I’m sure they told you

Things about me

(HERO exits. FAIRIES enter and dance with DAUGHTER)

FAIRIES:

FAIRIES:

Tra la

Fly far

Doo da

Uh huh

Wise words

Worth what

When your

Walls drop?

(Exuent. Heart’s Theme mingles with moving light. Blackout)

Finale Postlogue (Sandstorm)

(

(Music and lights softly up on Pennard. The WARRIORS are hours into an orgy)

COMPANY:

(Chorus One)

Gimmie my life, gimmie my time

My appetite gone

Let me bury myself under

This drink and a song

:

ALONE:

So where did I go anyway?

I checked my friend’s eyes today

And I’m nowhere to be found

Last time I bothered to look, I’d smile and that’s all it took

But now he shuts me down

Please stop by O lonley, O lonely

Keep me from ice ‘cause I’ll go

COMPANY: (ChorusTwo)

Gimmie my life in great big bites

Mountains of meat and seas of ale  

Let me dig down when I’ve won my fights

Maybe bury myself in my drunken nights

CLUBS AND DIAMONDS:

I offer this toast to my friends

That whenever this partnership ends

We go down in battle

Maybe we’ve done it all wrong

I know we can’t do it for long

Just pray it doesn’t matter

WARRIORS:

Here’s to the Club Club the Brothers in Blood Club

All washed away by the tide

Here’s to the Club Club the Brothers in Blood Club

All blown away by our pride

(ChorusTwo)

DAUGHTER:

Always was a dancer

Since I was a youngster

Since I was a little girl

I’m a little flower

In my final hour

A dainty, dusty whirl

(Little girl enters to dance a duet with DAUGHTER then exits.)

COMPANY: (Chorus )

(The lights mellow, the crowd settles. Warmth)

DIAMONDS:

When I’m all rich and getting old

Losing teeth and counting gold

You can all come visit me

To share the wine and the memory

COMPANY (Refrain) Share the wine and the memory. Share the wine and the memory...

Postlogue (Sandstorm)

:

FAIRIES:

Tra la

Fly far

Doo da

Uh huh

Wise words

Worth what

When your

Hearts' stopped?

(SENTINEL spots FAIRIES and reports to HERO, who rouses a few WARRIORS. The confrontation results in a sandstorm. Each character sings their theme into the chaos. Blackout.)

(Flickering dawn across the cyc. Pennard is buried. As the lights warm, there is a stirring beneath the sand and HEARTS emerges. He empties a pocketfull of sand and ponders. He hears the FAIRIES’ theme, smiles, looks at his feet and soft-shoe’s off. Blackout)



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