It sounds like the old joke about suffixing "in bed" to a fortune cookie's prediction. An old friend called last week and asked if I wanted to be involved in a Shakespeare production he's directing at Two Rivers Prison in Umatilla Oregon. Johnny even has cards that say, "A Midsummer Night's Dream in Prison." All I had to do was come up with some ideas for one of the songs in the play:
You spotted snakes, with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
Newts and blind-worms do no wrong,
Come not near our fairy Queen!
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, Lulla, lulla, lullaby:
Nor spell nor charm
Come our lovely lady nigh:
So, Good Night, with lullaby.
Johnny also said it would be helpful to GO to the prison with him and work with the inmates. This prospect intrigues me but given the amount of time I'm away from my family anyway as a touring musician I've opted not to go, for now (it's a three-hour drive to get there).
I decided to go with two different directions with the music, a do-wop one, and one more gospel-like. It feels magnificent to be a part of, even in a small way. Johnny tells me that when they start working all the outside roles slough off and they're just a bunch of guys rehearsing a play.
Here's a link to the musical ideas:
Here's the website for Open Hearts, Open Minds, the organization that facilitates the performance: