WHAT THE MOON SAW
or "I Only Appear to Be Dead"
a play with songs
inspired by Hans Christian Andersen
and his tales, set in a post 9-11 world
A kaleidoscopic meditation on how we move through calamity, this collection of interlocking contemporary urban riffs on Andersen’s classic fairytales explores 9/11 and its repercussions via a mix of the impossible and the everyday.
A bucket brigade of firemen shovels rubble from the site of the disaster as a shadowy girl lights matches. A fickle mermaid finds herself marooned on dry land. A dancing girl travels south, carrying her beloved tin soldier’s lizard to safety. A bear dreams of a melting heart as a radio reporter makes the rounds, interviewing citizens about what they were doing when the moon fell. Journeying through this surreal post-9/11 landscape is Hans Christian Andersen himself, on his way to Shanghai to celebrate his 200th birthday—only to be haunted by the detritus of his own tales along the way.
Inspired by Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” “The Little Matchgirl,” “The Snow Queen” and his lesser known “What the Moon Saw.”
premiere: Son of Semele Ensemble, L.A., 2011
directed by Matt McCray
music by Daniel Corral
• reading, Mint Theater, NYC, September 11, 2011, on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11
• workshop: Chapman College, 2006
• Interart Development series, NYC, 2002
directed by Melissa Kievman, Katie Pearl, Josh Carlebach, Ian Belton
with Mia Barron, Jesse Perez, Marin Ireland, Greg Steinbruner
• Lincoln Center Director’s Lab/HERE Arts Center, 2002
directed by Susanna Gellert, music by Brendan Connolly
• Risky play: Cutting Ball Theater, 2003
• Honorable Mention, Bay Area Playwrights Festival