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Program 641: Dark Theater

KALW Broadcast Date: February 26, 2021 | Host: Randall Wong

The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets is a self-billed “musical fable” in the avant-garde tradition created through the collaboration of musician Tom Waits, beat author William S. Burroughs. and theatre director Robert Wilson, In  the original production, Wilson was largely responsible for the design and direction. Burroughs wrote the book, while Waits wrote the music and most of the lyrics. The project began in about 1988 when Wilson approached Waits. The story is based on a German folktale called “Der Freischütz”, which had previously been made into an opera in 1821 by Carl Maria von Weber.

Der Struwwelpeter ( also known in English as “shock-headed  or slovenly Peter”) is an 1845 German children’s book by Heinrich Hoffmann, written as a Christmas gift for  his 3  year old son. It is comprised of ten illustrated and rhymed stories, mostly about children, inspiring generations of childhood nightmares.  Each tale has a clear moral that demonstrates the disastrous consequences of misbehavior. In 1845 he was persuaded by friends to publish the book anonymously as  (“funny stories and whimsical pictures with 15 beautifully coloured panels for children aged 3–6)

It has spawned numerous versions in different languages; Mark Twain being one the most prominent translators . In this English version by Martyn Jacques, the moral lessons have been ramped up, resulting with a subsequent upping of the childhood mortality rate.

This version of Shockheaded Peter had its origins as an international award winning British theatre production, which was performed on an oversized Victorian Theater with the live performers, musicians, and puppets appearing and disappearing though hidden doors and traps and with Victorian period stage magic.

Program Audio

30-Second Spot

Track Info & Links

Title: The Black Rider, Live
Composer: Tom Waits
Performers: Singers: Karin M. Schneider, Ernest Hofstetter, Juntta Schubert Friese, Andreas Ulich, Manfred Gerling, Dinah Politiki, Eckhart Neuberg, Florian Walter, Sebastitian Sommerfeld, Dirk Schüle. Conductor, Volker Giesek
Recording Title: The Black Rider, Live
Record Label: Audare Records
Catalog Number: K61064-6


Title: Shockheaded Peter
Composer: Martyn Jacques
Performers: The Tiger Lillies: Martyn Jacques, Adrian Stout, Adrian Huge
Cast: Julian Bleach, Anthony Cairns, Graeme Gilmour, Tamzin Griffin, Jo Pocock
Recording Title: Shockheaded Peter
Record Label: NVC/Warner Music
Catalog Number: 3984 26552 2

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