It has been a remarkable process, creating the music and sound design for Swedish actress Ottiliana Rolandsson’s one-woman show “I Was Greta Garbo”, which only yesterday finished its first run at The Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood.
Since I didn’t have the luxury of being there in person, perhaps the greatest challenge was going through every process via DropBox. But in spite of missing the face to face interaction with my co-conspirators, I have found it very cool to discover more of what is possible to accomplish via the Internet.
Capturing the essence of an enigma such as Garbo was indeed a tantalizing task. She was so brilliant, so multi-faceted, so powerful, so tender and so beautiful in her being and performance that anything I added would have to be simple enough to underscore the storyline, yet complex enough, deep enough and vulnerable enough to match her energy.
I decided that for me, personally, the essence of Garbo was seductive, sensual and deeply committed to the moment, but not a moment longer. Musically translated, I decided to create pieces of music that bore promise of a deeper commitment, but shamelessly and sometimes surprisingly would leave the listener wanting more. Of course, this needed to be done with enough grace and poise and subtlety to avoid arousing suspicion.
It is only in the scene of her death, or rather, in the scene where she realizes she is dead, that a release of emotion and a completion of form are reached in musical terms. And even here, I have consciously placed an eerie reminder of the stirring she left in the hearts of all who had the pleasure of witnessing her, on screen or in the flesh.
“I Was Greta Garbo”, starring Ottiliana Rolandsson, will be playing in Stockholm this summer, courtesy of The Garbo Society of Sweden. And I plan to be doing some live performances in conjunction with it. Feel free to stop by if you’re in the vicinity or are moved to make the trip.