Saint Aggie's '84

The history of a new musical as it comes to be…

“Van Halen and Legwarmers”…or Draft 3 Read Through Ponderings

This afternoon we read Draft 3 of the play. It’s still missing a song or two, which is a bit scary considering that the reading ran over the 80 minute time limit by a staggering 30 minutes…at least. No worries, there are lots of places to cut that will help the play tremendously, and some sections that can be omitted for this production without too much trouble.

I think my biggest concern now is that the boys need to be inserted into the story a lot more and fleshed out to some extent. (But still take into account that I don’t have the luxury of time in which to do this). Right now the boys feel a bit like set dressing. In fact, Juan Gonzales, who is supposed to be quite a minor character, has much bigger role in the plot than the boys. I wouldn’t call it a dilemma just yet, but it’s certainly a challenge. And it’s a challenge that makes us grow as a person, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

Interestingly for me, quite a bit of the first 15 minutes of the play feels quite extraneous. Even “Light A Candle”, which works well as a song on it’s own, feels lyrically unfocused and a bit forced within the context of the play. (Not surprisingly, it’s the first piece of anything that was written for Saint Aggie’s). Musically, the song is needed, but it could use some adjustments. I just don’t yet believe that these kids are singing about what they’re singing about…or more, I’m asking myself why are they singing it? Perhaps the scene previous could come up to meet the song? Certainly something needs to happen.

I am happy with the overall feel of the piece. I’m feeling that it has an honesty about it. Someone brought up that they were expecting something different, more “Van Halen and leg warmers”. To be honest, when I started out on writing this thing I was expecting more of that, as well…well not Van Halen…more like New Order and 99 Luftballons and old U2. But every time I’ve musically gone to that place it’s felt contrived and inappropriate. That being said, there is a Miami-Sound-Machine-esque Latino dance tune called “I Am The Jaun For You”, which is certainly the most ridiculous song I’ve ever written. More ridiculous than “Piggy In The Middle” from The Winter’s Tale Project, or even “Your Facebook Friends”, from WedLOCKED. The bar has been raised yet again!

Well, back to writing. Oh yeah, and cutting. I promise, promise, promise cutting.

And writing.

PS: Great reading today, people. Great work.


  Morgan wrote @

It’s definitely a less explored side to the eighties and at this point it’s so cool to see everything in its raw and natural state. Producing it in just a couple short months is such a thrilling thought when we see it so close to completion!

  Cheryl wrote @

As a member of Once on This Island in the audience today at the 10:20 performance, I find it absolutely incredible to read this blog and see how the show has grown from it’s very early stages. I adored the music and would love to have it in my possession one day- it’s absolutely beautiful and extremely catchy.

Congratulations on a beautiful show- it really caught all of our eyes and it is so special!

Happy Fringe!

  scarabsounds wrote @

Hey Cheryl:

Thanks for the comment. It’s been fun working on Saint Aggie’s ’84. Writing these shows is my very favourite thing to do. I will let you know when the recording is finished in a month or so.

I’m hoping to catch your show on Tuesday. I love “Once On This Island”.


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