I sent this to Tokyo Police Club on Twitter a while ago, semi-jokingly commenting that maybe it could be turned into a shirt or banner design. Since then I realized that it can make a pretty neat wallpaper for your desktop, maybe even a custom theme for Chrome :D Anyways, here it is for all y’all. Enjoy! :D
EDIT: I replaced the originally posted picture (uploaded from my phone) with the original one (straight from my laptop). Hopefully it’ll stay enlarged???
Essentially Ghost Quartet follows the stories of multiple reincarnations
of four characters/souls/ghosts, over numerous centuries, in a non-linear
fashion. Each actor plays reincarnations of the same character. There are four
main contexts the show takes place in: 17th century Japanese/German fairytale, 14th
Century Persia (Arabian Nights), 19th century England (Fall of the House
of Usher), and 21st century America.
The fairytale context
involves primarily Rose Red (Brittain), Pearl White (Gelsey), The Astronomer
(Dave), The Bear (Brent) as well as The Soldier (also Gelsey), The Miller (also
Dave) and The Fiddler (also Brent). Rose Red and Pearl White are sisters, and
Rose falls in love with The Astronomer, but he uses her and has an affair with
Pearl. In her anger, Rose asks The Bear, a magical being, if he will maul The
Astronomer, turn Pearl into a crow and trap them in a cave. He agrees, on the
condition she gets him four things: a pot of honey, a piece of stardust, a
secret baptism and a photo of a ghost. He gives her the ability to move through
the different timelines/incarnations of her soul in order to get these things.
Rose Red seduces The Solider for a pot of honey, and kills
her, as The Solider asked her to. She then moves through her incarnations in
the Arabian Nights context, the House of Usher context, and the modern day
context in order to collect the other things (see below).
She returns to The
Bear, only to find he has tricked her and won’t follow through with her request,
and tells her to do it herself (however – he does actually end up killing different
incarnations of Pearl in other contexts). Rose then pushes Pearl into the river
where she drowns. Pearl’s skeleton is fished out of the river by The Miller,
who leaves her bones to dry. The Fiddler finds the bones and makes a fiddle
from them, which is handed down the generations of his family until it ends up in
the camera shop owned by the modern Pearl.
The Arabian Nights
context involves Scheherazade (Gelsey), Dunyazad (Brittain), Shah Zaman
(Brent) and Monk (Dave). Scheherazade is wife to Shah Zaman, and tells him and
her sister Dunyazad a story each night, in order for him not to kill her. Her
stories are recollections from her other incarnations, and her ability to
recall/tell them comes from her stardust. Scheherazade also tells Dunyazad that
the ghost of Thelonious Monk is living behind a door in the palace.
later, after Dunyazad has died, Rose Red visits this timeline for the piece of
stardust. Scheherazade gives this to her by telling her a story of a dream she
had about meeting her past self. Eventually Shah Zaman kills Scheherazade and
becomes the ‘man in Iran’ mentioned in the song The Astronomer.
The House of Usher context
involves Usher (Dave), Lady Usher (Gelsey), their daughter Roxie (Brittain),
and their son, who has no name directly mentioned in the show but is called The
Fool (Brent). Roxie is occasionally possessed by Rose Red, who describes herself
as a starchild to Roxie and describes the spiritual realm to her. Usher and
Lady Usher believe Rose is her imaginary friend, and the things she says about
Rose concern them, so they encourage her to ‘put her away’ but she never does.
Teenaged Roxie has an affair with a reincarnation of The Astronomer, and gives birth
to a Rose incarnation, who is Starchild, and has spiritual/magical abilities
due to Rose Red’s influence. Rose Red steals the child for the secret baptism,
and Roxie falls ill. After her death, The Fool leaves, and has descendants that
eventually own the camera shop. Rose Red returns to possess Roxie’s body, but
finds her dead, and so kills Lady Usher.
The modern context involves
two Pearl incarnations – the camera shop owner and The Victim (both Gelsey), The
Photographer (Brittain), The Driver (Dave) and The Pusher (Brent). The Victim
plays a game on her phone involving a soldier fighting a bear, and when she
strikes the bear, The Pusher is overcome and pushes The Victim from the
platform into the path of The Driver’s train. Rose Red possesses The
Photographer in this moment and takes the photo of a ghost. She then leaves
her, and disgusted, The Photographer throws her camera to the ground and breaks
She goes the camera shop, where she meets the owner, who
tells her the story of Rose and Pearl, and gives her the new camera. The owner
also gives The Photographer the number of The Driver. The two meet and eventually
have two daughters.
Starchild is a
Rose incarnation who sort of lives beyond time as a spiritual entity, and is
generally pretty confused about what she is and what she can do.
Ghost Quartet also involves a number of songs which aren’t
specific to any of the particular contexts (I Don’t Know, Any Kind Of Dead
Person, Four Friends, Prayer, Hero, and Midnight), which take place in a
spiritual realm outside these physical contexts. These songs follow the souls/ghosts
of the characters exploring and coming to understand their experiences in all
their reincarnations, as well as further developing the non-linear way the
stories are told.
anyway so i saw ghost quartet yesterday and here’s some things. sorry this post is crazy long!!!:
-first off it was fucking amazing and that’s that
-i was sitting with @letthesunshinein in the second row of chairs in the middle section of the theatre, right in front of where gelsey & brittain’s mics were
-ben stiller was there
-during “i don’t know” i got the fuckin Shivers during the “let me read you a story, let me read you a romance” part because they were like looking at audience members & it was very much To The Audience and it was good
-gelsey and brittain were Amazing in the camera shop scene!! their faces were absolutely priceless, especially brittain’s. it doesn’t really sound like it on the recording but she’s laughing during the “i don’t believe any of this” part
- “subway” was super intense during the part where they’re all singing at different times because dave and brent are on either side of the theatre and gelsey and brittain are in the center so like the sound is surrounding you and it’s crazy
-in general everything sounded so much better with the way they were positioned like. it really put you in it bc the sound was coming from every direction.
-i already said this but during solider & rose brittain ashford made eye contact with me and i lesbian died. also the like whooshy sounds during that track are made by gelsey with this weird cup thing & she like makes a face and puts it up to the mic in response to rose/brittain’s like come ons and it’s priceless
-i’m pretty sure gelsey stepped on someone on the floor while handing out instruments during “any kind of dead person”
-dave had his hand on his chest for all of “the astronomer” and it was kind of strange
-during the part where brent is playing monk and dave points it out brent smiled and said “you always get it” and it was funny & sweet
- the transition from the family meeting scene to “four friends” is hilarious bc brittain has just finished like cussing out dave & he just like kind of raises his eyebrows and is like “well. here’s side 2 track 3, four friends” and it’s very comical
-during the telescope there are certain hanging lights which get brighter to represent each star. im writing an essay about dave malloy shows & hanging lights being stars
-they turn off all the lights during “lights out” and they stay off for all of side 3, that is until hero when they come back on as a spot on brittain. there are occasional flashes of light intermittently but they’re very surprising and really add to the spookiness of the whole thing. hearing gelsey bell scream during usher part 3 in complete darkness was literally like bone chilling and i almost died. the only lights you can see are from the exit sign and from glow tape on the furniture and i think maybe some of the instruments.
-brittain moves from her spot at the back to center stage for “hero” and she cried real human tears and it was Heartbreaking and very very well done and very touching
-during the wind and rain they hand out all the instruments to the audience and teach them how to play so the beat and sounds of the song are being maintained by the audience. brent arnold gave ben stiller a big drum. the audience kept the music going for a good couple of minutes until somebody just started up applause & the cast came back in for bows.
-after the show the cast was in charge of merch & took pictures and signed things etc. i got a picture with dave & i told him i loved him & also that i’d read war and peace bc of comet & he was super cool and just. a nice big guy. we were standing right next 2 ben stiller as he was trying 2 buy tshirts from brittain and he kept dropping his tshirts and i picked them up. we had a moment. & then brittain was like saying something about like “stay in school kids” & i was like “yes ma’am” like ironically & she was like “don’t call me ma’am” and i was like “yes pal” and she was like “that’ll do” and she gave me a fist bump. brent arnold gave me the last small tshirt and i love him 4 that. gelsey was super nice & sweet As Always.
Monk Rowe conducted this in-depth interview with saxophonist-arranger-producer-photographer-band leader Dave Pell in 1996 as part of series for the jazz archives at Hamilton College. Dave was a great talker and a ubiquitious presence on the LA scene in the ‘50s and ‘60s. His stories about Lester Young are especially delightful and enlightening.