Thank goodness I’m a somewhat organized person. In the aftermath of finishing my eleventh Aztec icon, Ocelotl, for the coloring book YE GODS!, I switched back to my current writing project, a biography entitled “Ms. Yvonne, The Secret Life of My Mother,” which I then proceeded to bring up to the last chapter.
Planning to finish that in a while for posting on this website, and not yet ready (for technical reasons) to start the twelfth icon, Ometeotl, I dropped back to some other planned work: to revise my play first written some 35 years ago under the title “Octoroon,” a gay-themed historical drama set in Civil-War New Orleans.
Now entitled “Soldier-Boys,” the play was initially designed as the possible book for an operatic libretto, but now I (more realistically and pragmatically?) consider it a possible book for musical theater. It has now been posted for free under Public Library/Plays. All it needs now is a composer and lyricist to pick it up and run with it. Hopefully, anyone would work with the two musical numbers I’ve indicated with my supposedly poetic lyrics: a parade march for the (now-extinct) Krewe of Comus, and a soldier song. Anybody interested? Come on, guys—it’s up for un-copyrighted grabs! Go for it!
Meanwhile, here’s a fore-taste:
CAST OF CHARACTERS (in order of appearance)
GUY-PHILIPPE GAUTIER: 19, natural son of Charles Thissaud, returning from France
ACHILLES, Marquis de Marigny: 20, French nobleman and Guy’s university friend
AMALIE: slave woman in late 30’s, Phoebe’s personal maid
UNCLUTHA (actually Uncle Luther): aged slave, manservant of Charles Thissaud
CHARLES THISSAUD: early 50’s, Creole gentleman and Colonel of the Confederacy
PHOEBE THISSAUD: 22, Charles’ wife of 3 years, a Protestant from Savannah
JEANNIE: slave girl, daughter of Aunt Millie
AUNT MILLIE: mature slave woman, wet-nurse to Thissaud children
Also: Sailors, slaves (workers & domestics), 2-year old boy, infant, masquers, revellers, ball guests, Confederate soldiers
And an excerpt, part of the opening scene:
(Afternoon on riverfront at Place d’Armes, Cathedral, Cabildo, etc. in background. A ship is at the wharf where a large CROWD mingles and passes. GUY and ACHILLES walk down the gangplank and await their luggage.)
GUY (gesturing expansively): Well, here it is, Achilles, mon ami! My New Orlins! Not much compared to Paree, mais we do have our own Champs Elysée!
ACHILLES: At last I discover Amérique-a! C’est magnifique!
(In the CROWD, a group of costumed REVELERS passes by.)
GUY: Well, look at that, cher—our fine ship done got here for Mardi Gras!
ACHILLES: Alors, mon âme, we must drink for your return to the homeland.
GUY: Yes, indeed! Somethin’ to fortify myself for the comin’ ordeal.
ACHILLES: Cher Guy-Philippe, do not fear. Your homecoming is to be happy!
GUY: But it’s so bitter comin’ home to this war!
ACHILLES: The Yankee is the barbarian of the north! The war is our chance à gloire!
GUY: I s’pose so. But Achilles, I dread so meetin’ this Savannah lady my Papá done married.
ACHILLES: Ah! Mais les femmes… Pas de problème pour toi, ma fleur noire!
GUY (throwing his arm round ACHILLES’ shoulder): You an’ me, cher—les deux soldats! Now let’s go find us a big bottle o’ wine.