Chuck Prophet and poet klipschutz’s cult meisterwerk Temple Beautiful has now been reimagined as a genre-denying, interactive, ground-breaking musical in development. Daubed in the blood of Harvey Milk and Halloween homicides, it pits Punks against Tech, Age & Experience against Innovation & Power.
Temple Beautiful is a performance art-cum-musical battle royale, to a backdrop of competing styles of urban living among the city's rich reservoir of animated characters, a vivid parade of sardonic, romantic San Franciscans. Their misbegotten leader, Emperor Norton, takes them—and us—on a tangled journey with a surprise destination.
Director Emilie Whelan and musical director Matt Jaffe corral a wildly comedic unruly mix of characters, who would be equally at home on the Barbary Coast or in precarious pockets of our superheated economy, as they careen and clash and seek the ever-elusive grail: common ground. We meet the greats, the wannabes, the hangers-on, the nouveau riche (along with a local hero gone bad in the extreme), all aboard a hijacked Google bus.
Simultaneously a love letter and a rough ride paying homage to the punk club scene circa 1980, the Temple Beautiful CD shows Lou Reed how it’s done out West. Filtered through glimpses in the rearview mirror of rock ‘n’ roll, imagery plumbs the depths of heartbreak and soars to the heights of everyday, everyperson heroism.
A world premiere is anticipated for 2020.
I guess we were a few years ahead of our fime when it came to making up facts. It turns out we needed that time to let the characters in the play to slowly reveal themselves; to us and each other.