In the fall of 2016, during the Inaugural Fresh Squeezed Ounce of Art Song, OOO premiered Composer/Librettist Rain Nox’s cycle “Water Songs.” Her submission to FSOO 2017 had us rolling from the first page — Problems is a short opera with an unusual setting: a strip mall gym. OOO is happy to bring Problems to life for the very first time. Here’s more from Rain:
1) (from Maureen, singing Viki) How/when did you come up with the idea to set an opera in a gym?
Rain: Since I started going to the gym regularly before work I started to notice the same people are there every day- a couple who train together with a coach, an older gentleman and a young woman who seem to push themselves to their limits in every workout. There are people that never seem to miss a single day. I started to think about how for many of us the gym is a place which both accentuates our insecurities and provides an outlet for overcoming our insecurities. Viki’s character and song was actually the basis for the entire opera- a place where a “problem” that seems petty could actually be part of a much more serious issue that no one else could know about. What could be going through other people’s minds as they are running on a treadmill? We have no idea what anyone else is going through at any given time, what’s behind the forced smile of the cashier at the grocery store, why the car inspection clerk was curt. The more we remember that, the nicer I think our society will be.
2) (from Julie F, director) Each character’s moments are unique, as are their personalities. How did these characters — and their “problems” — come to be? Any basis on, um, personal experience? 🙂
Rain: Most of my characters are based on my personal experiences, situations I have observed, or experiences shared with me by those who are close to me. Being annoyed at having to wait for a cardio machine is such a “first world” problem, one that I am unfortunately guilty of. I actually don’t get mad when my husband checks out other women’s butts, because I do that too- we can’t help seeing what is around us! I tried to have each character show a different level of how “serious” most people would consider a problem to be, although in reality it makes no sense to compare problems. Nothing good can come out of trying to judge the validity of someone else’s problem. Writing this micro-opera made me feel incredibly lucky about my life situation and so grateful about how few “problems” I really have.
Rain Nox received her Bachelors of Music in Composition from the University of Texas at Austin. Since graduating she has composed six one act musicals, including Sisters of the Sea that was featured in Best of Fest at Fronterafest, and three full length musicals, including Crazy Like a Person, which won Best Original Play at the City Theatre’s Summer Acts festival. She is also the lead singer and bassist for local rock band Rise from Fire, whose first album will be released this summer. She is honored to have her second performance with One Ounce Opera, who premiered her work Water Songs last November. https://soundcloud.com/rainnox