THE UNSEEN WORLD
(formerly "My Blue Heaven")
(c) 2019, Ira Marlowe/Slow Reveal Music (BMI)
Click on song titles to hear preliminary demos and read lyrics.
THE UNSEEN WORLD is a new original musical involving schizophrenia, parallel dimensions, and a mythical invention by Nikola Tesla.
"If Philip K. Dick, Sylvia Plath and Mel Brooks collaborated on a musical,
this is what you might get."
Katie Arlen, the heroine of The Unseen World is young woman labeled as schizophrenic, so aghast at our heartless society that she's preparing to jump from a balcony. Instead, she finds herself on a journey to parallel dimensions that are even worse than ours: monochrome realms where our own flaws are simply magnified -- the lurid voyeurism of the Blue, the casual sexual predation of the Purple, the abject cruelty of the Green. Each of these dimensions claims superiority over our "full-spectrum" world, which they regard as a failed experiment. So.. is it a failed experiment? Or is it an astonishing miracle that can still be saved, redeemed with a new mindset. Ultimately, The Unseen World is a plea for wisdom and sanity in a time of spiraling madness. It invites the audience to believe in the reality of a better world.
(Scroll down for SYNOPSIS and SONG DEMOS)
THese are promotional stills. this show is unproduced.
KATIE, a vulnerable woman in her twenties, stands before the audience in a hospital gown. "What you’re about to see... people keep telling me it didn’t really happen." She's been diagnosed with schizophrenia but she hopes it means her mind, like the universe itself, is merely expanding. Before her exit, she explains that she's recently returned from the dead.
Blue light now fills the stage. Enter the wildly attired "Developers" as well as a chorus of Cops, their faces distorted by nylon masks. They sing the Act One "INTRO", boasting that after millennia of human ignorance, the audience will finally learn the truth about the afterlife.
In a San Francisco mental ward we meet BRYCE, a self-impressed classical musician who's flown in from New York to look into his younger sister's latest crisis. Katie recounts her suicide attempt in
"SOMETHING HAPPENED". Her plunge off a balcony was interrupted by HALO, a mysterious street person who spoke of Utopian alternate dimensions -- and a secret machine that can take people there. Katie, now fixated on this idea, pleads with Bryce to sign her out of the ward. Bryce refuses -- until he learns that one of the voices Katie's been hearing in her mind is that of RALPHIE, his lost fiancee, killed by a car only days before.
In a stage awash with blue light, salt-of-the-earth punk rocker Ralphie sings "LAST THING I REMEMBER", before being greeted by DIERDRE and her fellow corporate “Developers.” They welcome him to Stage One with "BLUE, BLUE HEAVEN":The “full spectrum” world Ralphie came from was just a failed experiment -- he’s now landed in a perfect blue paradise!
Katie and Bryce arrive at the apartment of PEARL, seeking the device Halo covets. A former bus driver now operating as a psychic intuitive, Pearl denies knowledge of any "super-powerful computer" but reluctantly agrees to work with them. Katie longs to visit the Utopian dimensions described by Halo and Bryce hopes to contact his departed Ralphie. Pearl cautions them with "THE UNSEEN WORLD", then gets down to hypnotizing Katie. "In Africa," Pearl explains, "people like you are revered in their communities".
Back in Blue Heaven, Ralphie is confronted by the singing cops we met earlier, including characters GODARD, LEE, and MORGAN. They revel in sadism with "THE WORST OF THE WORST", but when they move in to actually torture Ralphie they're interrupted by Dierdre, who orders the cops to lead him to Stage Two. Before they exit we hear Katie's voice. Ralph tries to respond but the cops quickly plug this “leakage” from another dimension and Ralph is dragged away toward Stage Two.
Back in Pearl's apartment we find Katie comatose, slumped in a chair. In the duet "CRACKS", Pearl pleads for calm but Bryce is losing it. He wants to call 911 but his phone has died: something strange is clearly going on. Pearl correctly intuits that Katie is not Bryce's actual sister, but adopted after a string of foster homes. Bryce agrees to wait a bit longer before seeking help and Pearl pulls out some bourbon. She confesses she has something to show him.
We next find Katie bathed in green light, a world of ugly voices harping on her every weakness. Above this din she hears Ralphie’s voice -- but it’s only more leakage. Crying out for him, she instead meets Halo, outraged that she never retrieved the machine. Halo reveals it was built by Nikola Tesla, kept secret because “mankind wasn’t ready”. In
“SLIPPIN' AROUND” he explains why he needs it -- to avoid randomly slipping from plane to plane due to years of heavy drug use. As the evil voices torment Katie, Halo feels an episode coming on. Katie grabs hold of him and, after a convulsive audio/visual transition, they arrive in a new realm of purple light. A gushing man, LANCE, approaches them and invites them to a Jell-O party! As the two walk off with him, Halo suggests they've now found the world of pure love.
Pearl and Bryce, clearly feeling the effects of the bourbon, toy with a crude antique Pearl bought on the street. “Sci-fi computer? The thing doesn’t even plug in!” But when Bryce turns its crank he discovers a pure musical tone. Experimenting with harmonies, they manage to trigger its power! Lights and sounds explode and they respond in terror, frozen between time and and space. The Blue Heaven Developers and Cops return to close out the first act, taunting the audience once more with the Act One "OUTRO".
Again in her hospital gown, Katie describes a famous thought experiment, "SCHRODINGER'S CAT." She’s interrupted by a psychiatric nurse -- some men want to speak to her about her “dream”.
Back in the Blue, Developers and Cops sing "A TRUE UTOPIAN REALM", bragging that Blue Heaven was personally designed by God--whom they see "on a fairly regular basis." The BH model finds the most repellent of the newly dead and reincarnates them back to “full spectrum” -- for their entertainment value. "You got no conflict, you got no drama / You got no drama, you got no viewers." But "the worst of the worst" must first serve a stint in law enforcement.
When we reconnect with Pearl and Bryce, they're lost in a dimension of red light. Bryce, sure it's the hell he so richly deserves, sings "GOODNESS", recounting his recent affair with an erudite bassoonist. Bryce believes Ralph learned of this betrayal and stepped in front of a car. Seeing the Tesla Box flash in response to Bryce's anguish, Pearl eggs him toward heightened guilt. Finally the lights and sound go wild as they're transported to Blue Heaven, where they're quickly captured, the box confiscated.
Ralphie, escorted by a cop to a "death panel", stops and sings “A MIRACLE”, expressing gratitude for his life. The cop's response is quite disturbing.
It's a party in The Purple! In "the vortex of all that is good", Jell-O flows and the talentless SHIRLEY croons over an out-of-tune guitar. When Lance and smarmy charmer ROD sing, "YOU'RE A PURPLE GIRL NOW", their intentions become clear: Katie gets groped from all directions while Halo, eager to join the action, is shunned. As he complains, his voice grows higher and higher, indicating he's about to "slip" between dimensions. Katie fights off the sexual tangle and clings to Halo and they soon land in Blue Heaven. Katie's disgusted--with the scraggly man she'd seen as a spirit guide, and with the Universe itself, clearly just assorted versions of hell. In the middle of her rant an alarm blares and they're seized by the Blue Heaven cops.
Blue Heaven, which for millennia has successfully "moved all their trouble down below," has now been invaded by four living humans! Developers and Cops sing,"RIGHT WAY / WRONG WAY" sharing their outrage and their drastic solution: the captured invaders will get “The Pump”, a device that not only removes all life force, but any memory or record their lives ever happened.
Pearl and Bryce are locked in adjoining cells. Pearl suspects the cops might not be as dangerous as they appear, but Bryce is unconvinced. Enter cops Godard and Lee, singing "LISTEN UP". They want to escape Blue Heaven to terrorize the "full spectrum" -- and demand that Bryce demonstrate the Tesla Box. Pearl butts in with a clever ruse, insisting the box won't function without Katie's bio-metrics. Bryce insists they can't leave until they find Ralphie. Under threat, Pearl and Bryce are led away in search of Katie.
We find Katie in a cell of her own, singing
"THIS IS ALL WE GET" . She now believes her birth mother abandoned her out of a kindness--to prepare her for the despair all humans suffer in a meaningless universe. Just as the song ends, she's dragged offstage by cops.
The climactic scene finds Ralphie before the Developers, singing a
"MY LIFE IN ROCK 'N' ROLL" Two cops drag in a defiant Katie, due for annihilation in the Pump. Ralphie insists they use it on him instead--so his beloved Bryce can forget him. Pearl and Bryce enter the fray and chaos ensues -- and divine intervention is required! When Katie confronts "GOD" about the shortage of love and compassion, God responds with the harrowing "YOU'RE FREE". But Pearl soon reveals this haughty woman as just the puppet of an unknown employer. Wait! Enter Halo, now insisting that he is God! He's obtained the manual to Tesla Box and, singing “I’M DONE”, reveals his intention to "re-boot" the entire Universe: A new Big Bang. Halo tries to enlist the cast to sing the specific notes required. When they balk, he turns to the audience to aid in this monumental re-genesis. One more surprise is revealed just before it all fades to nothingness.
Katie takes the stage a final time. Doctors are saying she's deluded--she never even left the ward. They now insist she's merely paranoid and in response she sings
"I GUESS I BELIEVE/THE UNSEEN WORLD", gradually joined by the full ensemble. The song is a plea for wisdom and sanity in an increasingly mad and maddening world.