Rock is a musical comedy drama living the daydreams of Joel a young hippie fresh out of high school in 1969. His father badgers him about daydreaming and not being responsible and now his boss Mr. Strickler has just fired him for that. Seeking his dreams Joel leaves his hometown and Suzie Sweetheart behind and travels until he comes to Anytown USA. Trusting the wrong people Joel loses his girlfriend to his best friend. Then his new band gives him a drug spiked coke and he has a psychedelic experience. Joel slowly discovers the true meaning of the word Rock. The rock ‘n roll music was written during these times. And the lyrics are an authentic and original slice of life from that time period. The first song was actually written in 1964 when the author was 13.
The set is theater in the round, and it extends out from along stage left and right. The drama comes at Joel from several directions. He first finds himself unable to satisfy his father. All he does is criticize him. When Joel does his best he gets little support from his father but his mother’s words come back to him at a time of great need.
Mr. Strickler his boss at the theater always brings the daydreaming to a halt. He has little patience with Joel. He has been seen earlier before the people were seated arguing with Joel. This character begins and ends our performance. He is not aware of the audience.
Joel finds out just what is a friend but just something to lose in the end, when his best friend steals away his high school sweetheart. He never sees it coming but Joel will learn who to love.
Joel is confused about what to do. And he has to find out who to trust in life. He dreams of being a rock ‘n roll star. But he gets no support from his father or boss. Even his girlfriend gives up on him.
Joel begins traveling seeking a better life by picking up a rock from his hometown in Michigan and putting it into his pocket so he can always find his way back home. He heads towards the Golden State but soon Joel’s ideas of a perfect life are put to the test.
The drama intensifies when Joel finds himself with the wrong people in an uncomfortable situation that leads to a drug overdose. Joel remembers his rock in his pocket and finds his way back home through the music he sings.
Joel has a life-changing experience. He becomes invigorated and shares his enthusiasm directly with the audience by getting them to participate with the music. Taking his rock from his pocket Joel shares a message with the audience and gives them something to take with them.
Comedy is happening all around the drama as an intentional distraction from the main storyline. The most noticeable character is Mr. N.E. Body who sits in an easy chair watching the play on his TV and drinking beer. He is continuously interrupting the performance drinking beer burping and ordering pizza which is really delivered to him. He is not aware of the audience.
There is a brightly colored multi set of doors along one side that open and shut adding additional punchlines, jokes, and they say what someone might be thinking. The characters inside these Laugh-in-doors are constantly competing with each other for attention. They even shoot off champagne poppers at each other like a dysfunctional child during class.
There are plant actors that have been mixed in amongst the audience from the time they arrived. They acted look like normal people going to the show. But their job is to react to the jokes, punchlines and audience participation during the performance.
The script calls for more than one actor to play the part of Joel at the same time. This is accomplished by having the second Joel character always having his back to the audience or behind a screen. The effect can be taken further by changing the actors that are playing the lead Joel right in front of the audience. When it’s time for this to happen, the first leading man takes off his vast or hat, and hands it to leading man number two who puts it on and begins to carry on with the main character. This not only spreads out the demand for the leading role amongst more talent but it shows the audience that anyone can be in the same shoes, or vest, or wear the same hat.
The music and the lyrics were written during the period of the 60s and 70s. They capture the feeling of the moment and bring the past to life. Most of these songs were written for the commercial radio market and used the, “to stay alive on a 45, 2:55 to 3:05” philosophy. In other words around three minutes or less.
The music itself is hard-core rock ‘n roll with a good dance beat and catchy phrases. The melodic melodies are easy to sing to and quickly stick in the listener’s mind. There will be a four CD set of the soundtrack. The artwork for the CD covers is posted at the website.
The lyrics were written by a young man coming-of-age seeking his dreams. They are the thoughts and feelings of a troubled youth with a desire to make things better. The lyrics paint a picture of what was in the mind of this young man during the hippie movement. The marketing ideas page will have more to say about publishing the music.
The performance starts and ends in the parking lot in the middle of the audience. They are immediately swept into the live action circus atmosphere all around them. This continues until they get in the car to leave. Only then will they realize they have been on stage also and the most important part of the play.
The script should be considered as an outline leaving plenty of room for improvisation. The set design must be within the producer’s budget. The small message we give the audience is more important than any part of the performance.