« Je regardais le plafond et j’ai alors vu le ciel »

Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités

Résumé

« Je regardais le plafond et j’ai alors vu le ciel » : c’est ainsi que l’un des protagonistes de cette œuvre créée à Berkeley en 1995 raconte son expérience du tremblement de terre qui a secoué Los Angeles en 1994.
À travers ce qui se veut « une histoire d’amour polyphonique dans le style d’une comédie de Shakespeare », selon les mots de John Adams, l’ouvrage, plus proche de la comédie musicale que de l’opéra, évoque la vie de sept jeunes gens d’origine sociale et ethnique différente, à travers vingt chansons où l’on perçoit les influences du rock, du jazz, du gospel ou du blues... mixées dans des rythmes et harmonies typiquement adamsiens.

Quelques commentaires

“Ceiling/Sky” is essentially a polyphonic love story in the style of a Shakespeare comedy. The characters, all inner-city young people in their twenties, play out their personal dramas against the backdrop of specific social and political themes

 

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Dewain: A young black man. Today he’s feeling especially fine beacuse he’s out of jail and on his way to see his girlfriend Consuelo, the mother of his little baby girl. Dewain’s brushes with the law have been pretty minor stuff, and after this most recent lockup he’s determined to clean up his act and get his life back on the right track.

David: In his late twenties, the minister of the neighborhood African American Baptist church. Always smiling, smooth-talking, confident, handsome, he doesn’t hesitate to enjoy the favors of the more attractive young women in his congregation, no matter what form those favors may take. But try as he can, he can’t seem to make those charms work on...

Leila: A black graduate student, now employed in a local Planned Parenthood clinic, where she’s laboring, somethimes in near desperation, to counsel young kids of all ethnic backgrounds about birth control. Among her clients is...

Consuelo: An undocumented immigrant mother from El Salvador, where the father of her four year-old boy was murdered by the death squads. Now she ekes out a hand-to-mouth existence in Los Angeles, an “illegal alien” whose only bright spot in life is her love for Dewain, the father of her newborn second child.

Mike: A white rookie cop in the Los Angeles Police Department. He hasn’t yet developed the cynicism and abrupt bearing that will be expected of him by his cop collegues. In fact he’s something of an activist, viewing his job as a way of helping to turn the neighborhood around and getting the kids on his beat out of gangs and off drugs. He’s even worked with Dewain to develop a boys’ neighborhood basketball league. But his inner conflicts, both social and sexual, are making his life an unberable mass of contradictions, not the least of which is his relationship with...

Tiffany: Prim, pert, airbrushed anchorwoman for a local TV station. With her matching purse, shoes and dressed-for-success business suit she’s the model of televised perfection. A consummate professional, Tiffany’s career is on course for even bigger things. The best part of her job, though, are those hours when she can ride around with Mike in his police car, watching him patrol the neighborhood and do occasional busts on its inhabitants, all of which she captures on camera for her weekly “crime-as-entertainment” show.
Rick: Born in LA of parents who were Vietnamese “boat people,” he’s just finished law school and is working as a public defender. Like Mike, he too hasn’t lost his sense of idealism and still believes in the ability of the law to change things for the better. He’s spent his last dollar on a snazzy Brooks Brothers suit (that he can ill afford) in order to look good in court. Rick is about to receive a lesson how the legal system really works and an even more important lesson on how love does and doesn’t work.

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Versions majeures de I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky

Version 1

I Was Looking at the Ceiling … (2010-07-Theatre Royal Stratford East-London) (Revival)
Durée : 10 mois
Nombre :
Première Preview : mercredi 07 juillet 2010
Première : mercredi 07 juillet 2010
Dernière : samedi 17 juillet 2010
Mise en scène : Kerry Michael • Matthew Xia
Chorégraphie : Jason Pennycooke
Avec : Cynthia Erivo (Leila), Jason Denton (David), Anna Mateo (Consuelo), Stewart Charlesworth (Mike), Leon Lopez (Dewain), Natasha J. Barnes (Tiffany), Colin Ryan (Rick)
Commentaires :
John Adams is the minimalist composer best known for his operas “Nixon in China” and “The Death of Klinghoffer”. This “musical” is a mixture of song-cycle, opera, blues, rock, gospel and funk and is performed with no dialogue. It was first staged in May 1995 in Berkeley, California, and its title is based on a comment by one of the survivors. This was a joint production between the Barbican and the Theatre Royal, Stratford East. The critics were divided on whether this was an opera or a musical, and whether it belonged in a concert-hall rather than a theatre. However, there was much praise for the performers.
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