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An example script and lineup for Great American Myth:
This is a broad description of an example episode that has not been recorded. This is for demonstration purposes only
Episode 5: The Amazon
central narrative threads: 3.
One true-life story told by Annie about her experience visiting her father in Ecuadorian Brazil and their subsequent relationship back in the US where her father lives on the street in Baltimore.
Second thread is excerpts from Jungle Goddess a 1940’s radio drama about an Amazon warrior in classic mid-century adventure serial format. The final section of the show features a live reading of the conclusion to 1948 episode by The Willamette Radio Workshop.
A third less prevalent thread is the description of the myth of Penthesilea warrior queen of the Amazons. This takes the form of a direct telling (quoting in part the writing of Vergil) read by the host/narrator, a poem read by Denzel Brenner and a mixed-media description of the 1927 opera Penthesilea by Othmar Schoeck.
Musical Group: Siddartha Blues (percussion ensemble)
NOTE ON FORM: The show is divided into 4 sections similar to a standard Sonata form in the 18th century classical tradition, Exposition, Development, Recapitulation and Coda. Each section is announced as such and a short selection of classical music underscores the beginning of the section. Each section ends with a complete musical number from the featured music artist(s). Each section generally follows one story thread (called POINT) as well as breaking up the story with a shorter piece of found sound/poetry etc. (called COUNTERPOINT)
EPISODE 5: THE AMAZON
MUSIC BEGINS, DROPS DOWN UNDER THE FOLLOWING WITH AETHEREAL ROOM EFFECTS:
clips from the introduction of 1940’s Jungle Goddess radio program:
“The last of the great jungle priestesses, defending the animals and the great river basin she stands alone on hallowed ground once tread by the tribe of her birth, the last… Amazon Warrior”
clips from Penthesilea myth:
As Vergil wrote: “The ferocious Penthesilea, gold belt fastened beneath her exposed breast, leads her battle-lines of Amazons with their crescent light-shields…a warrioress, a maiden who dares to fight with men.”
mixed clips/other examples of female warrior tribe mythology
MUSIC BUILDS TO CENTRAL SHOW THEME
SHOW INTRODUCTION BY HOST
“The Amazon… Stories and sounds from the national pantheon. Broadcast live from the deck of the 1940’s Steam Tugboat Capt. Bob on The Willamette River. This is Great American Myth. My name is XXX, I’m narrating this episode. On board tonight Siddartha Blues, who will be performing from down in the engine room as well as Jamil Wilson performing from up in the control tower. Annie Coplan, Denzel Brenner and Jason Harland on the foredeck and our crew and audience of over 40 souls. It’s 7:07 on Thursday night, here we go…
MUSIC CONTINUES FOR 3 MINUTES
“EXPOSITION”: CLASSICAL MUSIC, 30 SECONDS
POINT: BEGINNING OF CENTRAL NARRATIVE 6 MINUTES
Annie describes her early life growing up with her mother in Baltimore after her parents divorce when her dad lived primarily in South America. Eventually she convinces her father to let her come visit him when she is 10 years old.
COUNTERPOINT: (REPORT, QUOTE, CLIP) Penthesilea Myth read by host
“The Amazons had a number of famous Queens, but Penthesilea is perhaps the most storied. She was a daughter of the war-god Ares, and Pliny credits her with the invention of the battle-ax. She was also sister to Hippolyta, who married the hero Theseus, after being defeated by him in battle. Penthesilea ruled the Amazons during the years of the Trojan war—and for most of that time stayed away from the conflict. However, after Achilles killed Hector, Penthesilea decided it was time for her Amazons to intervene, and the group rode to the rescue of the Trojans—who were, after all, fellow Anatolians. Fearless, she blazed through the Greek ranks, laying waste to their soldiers”
COUNTERPOINT: The beginning of the 1st Episode of Jungle Goddess describing how the protagonist (Muriel) came to live on her own in the Brazillian jungle, protecting her land from homesteaders trying to settle the land she was living on
MUSIC (SCORE BY SIDDARTHA BLUES) BEGINS UNDER COUNTERPOINT, BUILDS TO 2 MINUTE PIECE
“DEVELOPMENT” CLASSICAL INTERLUDE (20 seconds), DROPS DOWN UNDER
COUNTERPOINT: The poem “Archers of Intent” about the Penthesilea myth written by Cester Vayne, read by Denzel Brenner.
POINT: CONTINUATION OF STORY: Annie Leaves the USA for the first time and finds herself in Quito, under the care of friends of her fathers. She starts to figure out how her father’s situation is less stable than she imagined. She is left on her own to explore the city. She eventually finds her way out to site where her father is leading a tourist expedition to one of the famous architectural sites.
COUNTERPOINT: Excerpt Jungle Goddess ep. 4, Muriel befriends a group of travellers who are mapping the basin she lives on. Although they do not understand each other’s languages, they develop a pidgin to communicate basic ideas. She takes them to several secret spots including a waterfall.
SCORE: SIDDARTHA BLUES: (4 minutes)
“RECAPITULATION” CLASSICAL MUSIC DROPS UNDER
POINT: Starts with Annie describing a picture of herself with her father in the jungle on the 4th day of the expedition, as the music wraps up underneath the segment…
POINT 2: Excerpt Jungle Goddess ep. 4: Muriel discovers that she has been betrayed, the men she has confided in are in fact planning to purchase the land and harvest the lumber. She discovers they have been planning to capture her and bring her back to the big city before doing so. They have convinced her closest confidant and possible romantic interest in the group Vincent. He is to drug her when they meet that night at the waterfall.
POINT: Annie’s father has an argument with one of the tourists leading to the group abandoning her father as a tour guide. Annie and her father spend the next several days at a small town nearby. Although they are in a remarkable and unfamiliar place to the city-born Annie, the experience is laced with desperation as her father is often drunk and is trying to piece together parts of his disorganized life.
COUNTERPOINT (short): We hear a recording of the 1927 Opera Penthesilea, it sounds slightly distant as if it is being listened to on a radio. A close and personal voice briefly describes what they are seeing, the premise of the opera, describes the action of stage as if they were curled up relating it to a close friend over the phone.
PARTIAL MUSICAL INTERLUDE CONTINUING UNDER..
MUSIC: BEGINS SLOWLY – CONTINUES TO FULL 4 MINUTE NUMBER
“CODA” Classical ostinato continues under
POINT: Annie describes a photo from several years ago, her father is homeless, living back in Baltimore, she is going to school out of state and is on a rare visit back to visit her parents.
COUNTERPOINT: Excerpt Jungle Goddess ep. 4: Muriel tricks Vincent getting him to confess his plan. He admits it is wrong but tries to convince her to move out of the city with him and abandon his land. Just as they are talking, the other men are secretly watching and come out to subdue the Amazon Warrior
POINT: Annie describes and reflects on how her trip enabled her to see herself as powerful and independent, how the character of her father affected her in her lifetime. Continues to tell about one of her last experiences in Ecuador, finding her way to the bus station on her own as her father is hung up trying to make it into the city to see her off
UNDERSCORE (CLASSICAL) BEGINS FOR FINAL SCENE
Focus jumps back several times between the two stories. In one Muriel fights off the men at the waterfall eventually in true mellodrama style, Vincent dies defending her and the other men are driven back: In the other the 8 year old Annie weaves through Quito towards her flight back home. She describes her life since briefly and her broader impressions of her time largely unsupervised in Ecuador in the 90’s. At the conclusion as the different stories overlap slightly, pieces of the Archers of Intent Poem resurface, and it’s final line is read alone:
“and from the dead heat of the forest their voices rose
even as the shuddering chest of the warrior queen fell still
a sound like a predator bird exploding from a still bush.
brave and sudden… and devastating”
MUSIC CONTINUES TO CONCLUSION (2 MINUTES)
OUTRO MUSIC STARTS
OUTRO BY NARRATOR – CREDITS, PROGRAM DESCRIPTION, MORE INFORMATION