RSS

Tag Archives: background

Character Background 3: Jasper, The Dead Guy

As we prepare to begin composition of the 3rd Act (in about 2 weeks) it’s becoming time to address the one character in the entire Opera who is in all 4 Acts, present in all 4 generations the show encompasses. Jasper. Who, ironically, died before the opera even begins.

At the moment i’m leaning towards 3 of the 4 generations being in love with him (Annabel, Byron and Priscilla). In any case, who is he?

Jasper comes from a family with a very respected name who was once extremely well off, but who has, within the past few generations, watched their fortune ebb away. The family name is still worth something, but there is not much behind it anymore.

Because of this, Jasper has been raised with a great deal of pressure to rescue the family name and fortune and restore the once proud line to the status they deserve. Unfortunately, Jasper really doesn’t care about all of this. He is quite content to settle down on the family’s country estate far outside of New Camden and pursue his passion for horticulture. He is interested in creating small scale food forests on limited land which can produce massive amounts and varieties of food which a family or individual can live off of indefinitely.

This is all well and good, but his family still wants their fortune back, while he argues that he can feed them and future generations and  money need not be so great of an issue. These discussions never go well, and despite his convictions, he has been raised from birth to shoulder the family expectations, and so cannot just walk away. His mother uses a potent blend of guilt and pity which Jasper, although aware of and despises, is unable to emotionally resist.

His marriage was carefully arranged while he was still in his early teens, something that he resents.  He met Annabell shortly before the wedding and was quite taken with her, although he only saw her one night. He forgot her soon afterwards.

The marriage is an unhappy one. He sees his wife as vain and shallow. She is actually quite industrious and focused, however she too is from a family with good name but waining fortune and has fully bought into the need to make as much money as possible over the course of her life in order to restore the two families’ greatness. She has less than no interest in Jasper’s interests and is disgusted with him for his reluctuance to go out and make his fortune.

He finds himself able to spend less and less time on his life’s passion, and is pushed into being a stockbroker. Interestingly enough, he has a sharp mind for it, the same logic that makes him a brilliant horticulturalist also makes him capable for being a successful stockbroker, but instead, he is complete failure at it. This is because he subconsciously sabotages himself. His resentment for his mother and wife comes out in his deliberate attempts to fail at the money making business.

The only good aspect of his otherwise miserable life is the birth of his daughter, Fay, who he loves deeply. Alas, while she is still a young child he is involved in the accident that kills him.

He is naturally somewhat surprised and not particularly pleased when he finds himself brought back from the dead by Annabel, and far less so when he is brought back later by Edgar, but the notion of seeing his daughter again calms him somewhat. Thus he remains trapped once again in the mortal coil.

Advertisements
 
11 Comments

Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Character Background 2: Edgar McAlistair

As we move into the 2nd Act, we arrive at the 2nd generation of McAlistairs, Annabel’s son, Edgar.

Who is he?

At the outset of the 2nd Act he is young, early to mid 20 something, no older than 25.

He is Annabel’s son. After the events of Act 1 she eventually married. Her husband was an intelligent and caring man, not very interesting or charismatic, but he could keep up generally with most of her conversation, was kind in all the small ways that make home life pleasant, and was meak enough and able to get lost in his own bookish interests that he didn’t mind Annabel’s absences when she would lock herself in her lab for days on end.

Edgar loved his father, but his father’s meakishness and boring demeanor prohibited him from being a notable role model for the boy. Edgar was always  much more enamored with his mother, who was loving and doting when it occured to her to be, and so unusual, unpredictable and interesting that he all but worshipped her.

The additional quality that cemented his adoration was the fact that while she was a loving mother, she was distractable, moody, and capable of wandering off to work out a theory or locking herself in her lab for days on end. She was not always available, either mentally or physically. This made her almost like a drug to Edgar, for he never knew when she would disconnect again.

This might have had consequences in Edgar’s teenage years, but sadly, Annabel did not make it that far. She died when he was 11 and he was raised from there on solely by his father. The loss was unbearable to Edgar. His sadness and longing and rage were almost impossible for a 12 year old to deal with.

He hit adolescence immediately afterwards.  While young men typically like to “play the field” and wrack up romantic and sexual experience, Edgar was instead very focused, loyal, and rigidly monogamous. He has abandonment issues with women, and becomes very attached to a woman,  or in his young life, girls. Girls of adolescence naturally are not so focused and like to play the field themselves, and Edgar could be very attractive at first since he has a certain intensity, but his over attachment quickly turned them off.

However, once into his early 20s, this ceased to be an issue with the right woman, and Edgar found her. Fay is an exceptionally bright young woman, well schooled, looking for a professorship in the liberal arts, and interested in security and settling down. Edgar’s attractiveness, intelligence and unswerving loyalty were the right combination for her and they fell in love and remained together for several years, with eventual marriage being a given assumption.

Unfortunately… Edgar is bright and has a little bit of family money, nothing lavish but a modest amount to get by with, but he is absolutely unfocused, with no idea what do with himself. He has an ability for practical and tactical brilliance, but he cannot become interested in a task or career for any length of time. Since he has enough money to get by he can afford to quit whichever career he has recently lost interest in and go back to moping around the house.

This eventually drives Fay crazy. It is a major contention in their relationship.

Edgar is capable of moping around the house for weeks at a time before finally going back out to try his hand at some other pursuit, which he always eventually gives up on, only to plant himself back home and begin the moping process again. As much as Fay loves him, over time this becomes a cancer in her heart towards him.

When Fay eventually meets Sillof (note: see, i told you i’d use his name!), a young, dapper, bright and incredibly industrious man of business, who is building his own series of stores successfully from the ground up with his own vigor and positive focus, he is irresistible to Fay. Fay is the perfect compliment to Sillof, artistic where he is practical, soothing, clever and of course poetic, for Sillof  is not poetic at all, and finds it to be the most wonderful quality he can imagine, one he himself cannot possess. They are drawn together, and despite her love for Edgar, she cannot resist Sillof and leaves Edgar heartbroken and abandoned again.

And thus we begin the 2nd song of Act 2 (the first song of each Act is always a Narrator song, a tango, which brings us up to speed on how the city of New Camden has changed in the passing generation).

 
4 Comments

Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,