Music by Stephen Keeling
Book and lyrics by Michelle Magorian
SEA CHANGE - A musical in 2 acts.
Detailed synopsis (Song titles are in italics).
Full libretto and piano score are available to look at. Please use the Contact page.
This musical is about five people who are stuck, or at an impasse in their lives. The experience of living together on a yacht and being stranded in a life raft forces them to wake up and to open up. And it changes them.
ACT ONE (Overture) September 1998. The Hamble. It is the final week of the sailing season, and ex-Navy Guy is taking his last group of holiday-makers on board his wooden sloop. Although he spends every week of the sailing season with people, he never gets close to them. Being the skipper, he feels the need to keep at a certain distance. He had hoped to have met someone special during the year but has to accept that he must spend the rest of his life in solitude and make the best of it (End of the Season).
His new crew of four have booked to go sailing for very different reasons.
Young Marcus, a salesman, is living on workaholic automatic pilot. and has been sucked into climbing one greasy pole after another. His only reason for the sailing trip is so that he can acquire his Yachtmaster Certificate with a view to being invited onto his Sales Director's Yacht.
Exhausted 52-year-old Brenda has been advised to take a break from taking care of her husband who has Alzheimer's. Since her marriage, she has put aside her interests, rarely seeing her friends, fitting in with her husband's plans and bringing up their children. This is the first time she has been away from him for 33 years.
Antonia, a newly retired classical dancer is at an impasse. Since leaving the dance world, her relatives have asked her to return to her home town and become a partner in a dance school but she doesn't want to teach. The problem is that she has no idea what she does want to do and is hoping that this holiday will help her come up with an answer.
The last member of the crew is John who has travelled from the north with his sailing partner's ashes, having kept them in a biscuit tin in his garden shed for three years. His self-esteem is so low that he is convinced he will be nothing when they are gone. He also assumes that his former sailing partner's bullying manner is the correct behaviour for someone who is in charge of a boat because he hasn't experienced anything different.
Marcus, Antonia and Brenda arrive separately and hover on the jetty. Marcus, who is constantly on his mobile phone intends to keep working during the trip. Antonia is beginning to doubt that she will enjoy her childhood dream of sailing, and Brenda is worried that her husband's carers might need her in an emergency and will be unable to contact her (Out of Reach). They go on board followed later by John. As he and Antonia sit alone for a moment in their separate cabins, Antonia is flooded with memories of painful relationships, determined never to become involved with a man again while John plans to throw the ashes into the sea, afraid that seasonal bad weather might remove all dignity from this private ceremony (September/Men!). (Continue Synopsis)
September 1998. The Hamble. Guy, the skipper of a wooden sloop,
is taking four holiday-makers for a week's sailing. His mixed ability crew, all strangers, who normally would not give each other five minutes of their time, find themselves stranded in a life raft after
their boat is mown down by another vessel. A gadget called the EPIRB, which they assume is in the sea giving the coastguards their position, is in the life raft lying in a bag alongside its owner's software manuals. As the five wait to be rescued, they gradually open up to one another.
GUY: Late thirties. Down to earth. Middle class.
Ex-Navy. Relaxed, but a dynamo when in action.
ANTONIA: Mid thirties. Middle class. Emotional. Energetic.
MARCUS: University educated working class. Late twenties.
Quick witted. An optimist.
BRENDA: Upper middle class. Anxious. Apologetic. Early fifties.
JOHN: Lugubrious. Acerbic. Northern. Working class. Forties.
The first ever complete reading took place at The Actors Centre in London on November 30th. Several of the new songs were recorded in February at Goldsmiths Music Studios by Meredith Braun as Antonia, Lewis Rae as John, Marilyn Cutts as Brenda, Benjamin Froehlich as Guy and Daniel Lillie as Marcus.
This new musical has book and lyrics by Michelle Magorian, the award-winning author of Goodnight Mister Tom.