1993 – Travellers Tale – ABOUT

Travellers Tale

Commissioned by W11 Opera in 1993


Synopsis: On board a spaceship children dream of going to a beautiful planet. But there is a glitch. The Eggheads and Nymphs try to sort it out, but they hadn’t reckoned on the Droids taking charge. However a Drone comes to the rescue and ensures that all is well.


Composer Michael Kamen  
Librettist Michael Kamen and Sandra Keenan Kamen
Music Director Harry Gregson-Williams
Soloists Adam, Eve, Eggs (3), Faith, Hope, Charity, Quirk, Quark
Groups Explorers, Nymphs, Droids, Parents
Orchestra Keyboards, Harp, Viola, Cello, Bass, Guitar, Woodwinds, Percussion, Organ

Notes on Production: A complicated science fiction story involving a battle between children sent to start a new civilisation and the spaceship computer programmed to guard them.

Musically it has a hauntingly lovely introductory passage followed by much highly accessible choral singing. Scored for small band including ‘cello, harp and flute.

Only one set is required suggesting the interior of a spaceship. Room for a very large cast and one adult speaking part (unseen).

Trivia: In the original production the voice of the computer was taken by Alan Rickman and sound equipment was loaned by Pink Floyd. Jemima Rooper, now an acclaimed West End actress, was in the cast.


Plot

OVERTURE

We are in a spaceship. We see parents stowing children away for a journey, they put them to sleep and say good-bye. BLAST OFF!

We travel in a sleeping spaceship peacefully and then. A GLITCH. The children wake one by one and sing.

1 SOMETHING’S WRONG The kids look for answers …ADAM tells them they are being guided by a computer. He sings I know what we are we are a…

2 SHOOTING STAR Everyone realises that they are in this together, that while they were sleeping they all shared the same dream of a beautiful planet – unlike anything they had known before.

3 THE PLANET OF OUR DREAMS they begin to wonder where did this dream come from?

HOW CAN WE DREAM WHAT WE HAVE NEVER SEEN

EGGHEAD: (Egghead is a clone – there are three identical eggheads) is very smart, he speaks to the kids – reassures them that everything they want to know is stored in the computer. He understands computers. He knows about the glitch. Stick with him, help him. He knows what we should do…

4 WE’LL SORT IT OUT (EGGHEADS LECTURE) or so he thinks… The computer has other plans! It tries to trick Egghead into leaving it alone by pretending to be his parents! He doesn’t believe them – he stands up for himself and sings R0B0 MUM

5 I’M YOUR BOY (EGGHEAD’S LAMENT)He runs off to tell the others they are in danger. The programme is hiding something. Something is wrong! He leaves Faith, Hope and Charity surrounded and attended to by a glittering coterie of helpful nymphs. They search for a way to help. They find the HELP button and push it suddenly THE DROIDS come to life!

6. ALL SYSTEM’S GO!!!!

Faith, Hope, Charity and the Nymphs are alarmed. They decide to enlist the droids to

help – to work for the kids But no, the Droids want the kids to work for them! “I’ll teach you how to dig like me…”

7 DIGGA DIGGA

The kids rebel, they tell the Droids that they believe they are going to the PLANET OF THEIR DREAMS. But Adam tells the kids they are mistaken – Egghead has told him the truth.

8 COOL DREAM CRUEL DREAM They are going to the PLANET OF THEIR NIGHTMARES!!!!!

Egghead has deciphered a computer programme that confirms their destination – an airless, barren Asteroid, rich in minerals to mine and send back to their dying planet, where they will work for the androids and live in bubbles, and make their new world just like the old one…

9 OUR FATHERS AND OUR MOTHERS The children begin to fight. Some want to follow the computer, some believe they must rebel, some feel they must do as they’re told, some don’t believe their parents would do this to them, the little ones are scared. The Droids step in.

10 GIVE US A CHANCE but the kids won’t have it! They refuse to go along with the programme. The Droids turn nasty and threatening. The little ones berate them and the situation is tense. A sudden blackout and then………on the upper deck bodies begin to materialize. It’s the parents beaming on board’ hip to help their children.

11 WE WANT THE WORLD FOR YOU the kids join in

NOTHING CAN STOP YOU NOW the kids sing

WE CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE and they all sing

THE ULTIMATE TRUTH IS LOVE

The Droids are furious!!! THEY give the orders here? They mock the parents, they mock the kids. Droids can take care of everything! The parents and kids stand up to them. They lecture the Droids.

12 YOU CAN’T TEACH LOVE

Enough is enough – the COMPUTER takes over! It lowers the temperature, everyone is freezing cold, the parents are fading, the computer is unstoppable.

13 CHAOS THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS

The Droids start to herd the children like cattle back into their pods and the children are powerless to resist. But one tiny child breaks away. Chased by Droids, she runs all over the ship, grabs a plug and pulls it out of its socket. ALL IS STILL. Everything warms up. The computer has been stopped. The parents are still here, the kids are all right, the ship is safe, the Droids are…….. friendly!

14 JUST A DRONE ON ITS OWN ALL ALONE The parents give their final words to the children and tell them that the glitch that woke the children had been programmed on purpose to save them from the Android’s asteroid and that the PLANET OF THEIR DREAMS was now ahead of them if they learn to rely on each other instead of on the computer. As long as they love one another they could build a new future.

15 WE ALL SHARE THE SAME DREAM

The parents leave with hopes of one day joining their children again.

16 WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME/WE ARE YOUR CHILDREN

A powerful ray of guiding light leads the ship through the asteroid belt to their new home. DIVINE GUIDANCE (ORGAN SOLO)

The children, in their last message back to their old world, describe what they see as they orbit and land on their new planet of their dreams.

17 HERE WE COME – WE’RE HOME

18 reprise WE ALL SHARE THE SAME DREAM