|AN AUTHORIZED ADAPTATION
OF FRANK ZAPPA'S THING-FISH
We at STAGECRAFT ENTERTAINMENT have worked for four years to
actually bring this project to the stage. The only "musical"
Frank Zappa has ever written has been something we just had
It started out as an idea way back in 1999, when Tommi was listening
to the studio recording of "Thing-Fish", the "original
cast recording". It was a recording put together from already
existing material and newly recorded studio material. This piece
in it's entirety had never been perfomed on stage, it had never
been performed as a theatrical production. It took a year until
Tommi and his little crew received permission from Gail Zappa
(the late composers wife and head of the Zappa Family Trust)
to perform two scenes.
Haveing tasted blood, the "triumvirate" Daniel Knapp,
Wolf E. Rahlfs and Tommi Brem moved the project forward, until
they received permission to perform their own adaptation in
a London theatre.
"An authorized adaptation of Frank Zappa's Thing-Fish"
opend the "Opera Season at the Battersea Arts Centre. The
help of an international cast and crew of 32, a handful of sponsors
and the private bank accounts of Knapp, Rahlfs and Brem made
this production happen. Four sold out shows and an international
audience as well as extensive media coverage made up for the
effort and the money spent.
"Thing-Fish" is a satire on musicals. There is a whole
set of story lines: 1.) There are Harry and Rhonda who go to
the theatre to see a musical. 2.) There is the Evil Prince who
invented a poison that made some people very ugly. Those people
have now taken over Broadway, performing the show Harry and
Rhonda are going to see. 3.) There is the story of Harry and
Rhonda "growing up in Ermerica", acted out to themselves
and the audience by "replicas". The whole thing is
topped of with TV evangelists, a mechanical baby jesus, a greasy
italian and the inevitable Broadway Zombies.
"Thing-Fish" is not only a satire on musicals but
also on the whole surrounding. The people that go to see the
shows, the actors, the stories, the recycling of storylines
and repeating sctructures in musicals.
It is also a comment on (then and still) current trends in society
and in it all, it is about people who take themselves to serious
(actors, regular people governments). And it is entertaining
"Thing-Fish is pretty damn terrible, in an entertaining
kind of way."
(The GUARDIAN, Lyn Gardner)
More and much bigger photos from this production can be found
over at flickr.
Flyer by T. Brem
Photos by D. Neuhof