13 October 2006

The Music of Regret

by Laurie Simmons


Artprojx with Salon 94 and Performa presents:

The Music of Regret by Laurie Simmons

(Featuring Meryl Streep, Adam Guettel and Alvin Ailey II Dance Co.)

Friday 13 October 2006. 10-11.30am

Artprojx at Prince Charles Cinema

7 Leicester Place, London WC2.

Box Office: +44 (0) 20 7494 3654 (open 1-9pm)

Tickets £7.50 (includes Breakfast)

Artist and Student ticket discount information visit www.artupdate.com/artprojx

Screening organised by David Gryn

Contact/info/press/Frieze VIP's


+44(0)7711 127 848

Event partners:









Artprojx 06 is kindly supported by Arts Council England, Lottery Funded www.artscouncil.org.uk

design: fetherstonhaugh


Artprojx with Salon 94 and Performa presents:

Laurie Simmons: The Music of Regret, 2006 (40 mins)


'The Music of Regret” is a mini-musical in three acts. The film is inspired by three distinct periods of Simmons’ photographic work. Vintage Childcraft puppets, ventriloquist dummies and walking objects enact three tales of ambition, disappointment, love and regret.

Act One, entitled “The Green Tie,” takes the form of a puppet show/radio play and tells the tale of a suburban tragedy where one simple decision has the power to cascade through many lives and wreak havoc upon the fragile ecology of everyday life. The story is told in four scenes by several generations of two feuding families and is punctuated by a Greek chorus singing a refrain about regret called “Woulda Shoulda Coulda”.

The actors are 36 Childcraft rubber hand puppets produced in 1968, which Simmons collected over the course of several years. The puppets were originally used as educational aids in schools, churches etc to portray the different characters that might comprise the “perfect” neighborhood; Multi-cultural representations of businessmen, housewives, teens, policemen, nurses and doctors which have been repainted in Simmons’ studio to give them the patina of porcelain sculpture.

Act 1 culminates in a sad duet called “Basements” which is sung by the two kindly grandfather characters who are lifelong friends and neighbors. They sing about how when faced with tragedy one must turn towards friendship and the banal day to day routines to survive.

Act 2 titled the” Music of Regret” is based on a 1994 photographic series by the same name. The scene opens to reveal a girl ventriloquist dummy surrounded by five boy dummy suitors. They circle around her admiringly and the girl dummy gradually becomes a real woman. The circling boys come to a stop four times and each time the woman is seen face to face with one of her suitors. She engages each dummy in a musical duet that examines regret and it’s many guises in love. Act 2 contains 4 songs composed by Michael Rohatyn with lyrics by Laurie Simmons. The scenes include a rumba in a romantic café where the woman sings a song about the inability to recognize true love except in hindsight.. “Excellent Moon” (sung partly in Hawaiian) is set in a tropical paradise and speaks about the fleeting and false nature of perfect love. “Love Grown Cold” takes place in a gentle snowfall where a boy and a girl struggle to reclaim a time when the pleasure of each other’s company and the first bloom of love kept them warm. The Rain Song addresses the inherent inadequacy of the love connection and the very human inability to share the same thoughts and needs. Act 2 takes its structure from the American musical, which relies on melody and lyric to move the narrative forward. Adam Guettel (Composer and lyricist of “Light In the Piazza”) sings the role of the suitors and Meryl Streep sing and acts the role of “the woman”.

Act 3, “The Audition,” takes the producer’s (and audience) view of an audition for an unspecified part in a Broadway song and dance revue. Giant objects with legs dance their encumbered hearts out for the privilege of being noticed. A Gun on legs performs a precarious top-heavy tango only to be stopped mid-step when the next dancer is called. A Book executes a punishing crawl across the stage and a house taps vaudevillian style while a Pocket Watch ticks patiently waiting for it’s ill fated chance to show it’s stuff. The part is ultimately won by the most obvious beauty (the pink and white Birthday Cake) and the Pocket Watch is left to ponder the “what ifs” of a missed opportunity. The Walking Objects are performed by the Alvin Ailey II dancers with choreography by Helen Pickett.