And Tell Sad Stories
Deaths of Queens
Written by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Liam McIlwain
Creating the World of Candy Delaney
Working with director Liam McIlwain, I was very focused on helping to immerse the audience in Candy's world.
Being set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in the mid-50s on Mardi Gras weekend we were both draw to the lively sounds of Jazz floating into the apartment from the streets outside. Along with Jazz music, we were able to utilize the evening buzz of cicadas and the light bubbling of a water fountain which Candy has in her Garden and Karl, unfortunately, falls into halfway through the play.
Our other main focus was figuring out how to communicate Candy's fragile nature as an older Queer person who is recently out of a long-term manipulative relationship. Inspired by Tennessee William's stage directions we decided to utilize the song 'Poor Butterfly' originally composed by Raymond Hubbell and based on the opera 'Madam Butterfly'. In fact, all music featured in the story and in key moments of the play were a rendition of 'Poor Butterfly'. After its original composition in 1916, the song has gone on to become a classic in the Jazz genre with most big-name Jazz musicians covering the song at some point. Within the play, you can hear Wayne King's rendition play as Candy dances with Karl and Katie Noonan's version at the very end of the production when Candy is held by her neighbor and friend Alvin.
'Poor Butterfly' also inspired a track that was used throughout the play, acting as a theme song and I feel was the best indicator of Candy's fragile nature. This track inspired by 'Poor Butterfly' was developed from a MIDI file of the song which was then stripped back, adapted, and built into the new track that was used.
Overall, I had a blast working on this play and I hope audiences enjoyed watching it as much as we enjoyed creating it.