Hannah Ellis-Petersen “David Byrne musical Here Lies Love charts rise and fall of Imelda Marcos” http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/sep/26/david-byrne-musical-here-lies-love-imelda-marcos
David Byrne is not a fan of musicals. In fact, the former Talking Heads frontman, says he avoids “the whole singing style associated with musicals” at all costs. “I just don’t like it very much,” Byrne adds, laughing.
Discussing the reason he chose Marcos, the polarising widow of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, known for her vast collection of shoes, as his unlikely musical muse, Byrne said her embodiment of the excesses and indulgences of power had drawn him to her story.
“I knew that Imelda was given to memorable pronouncements and aphorisms and outrageous behaviour, some of it amusing and some of it horrific,” he said.
“But the fact that she immersed herself in the disco club world was a big selling point.
“When I heard she had a giant mirror ball in her New York townhouse and turned the roof of the palace in Manila into a dancing club, I thought ‘she really surrounded herself with this music and created her own soundtrack to her life.’ Disco was a genre that I was uncomfortable with but keen to explore, so with those factors in mind I thought, ‘let’s see if there’s a story to be told here’.”
“The mindset of the Marcos regime and the mindset of disco music to me doesn’t seem all that distant. The hedonistic, escapist feeling of losing yourself and being transported to another world, like you feel on the dance floor and like you feel in a dance club, that’s a means to divorce yourself from the rest of the world, just as Imelda did.
“When you’re dancing, you’re in this psychological and sonic bubble, in the same way that powerful people create a bubble around themselves. So I wanted to give an audience a taste of that feeling.”
“In the first half, when the play is dealing with her childhood, her upbringing and her meeting with Ferdinand Marcos, it’s meant to get the audience to empathise with her and understand what’s driving her and then they’ll understand how that manifests later on,” he said.
“Occasionally I’ve had Filipinos in the audience coming up to me afterwards and saying ‘I didn’t feel really good doing that, knowing what’s coming later’. But the Marcoses were really popular to begin with and this really mirrors that. I didn’t want to subvert the image of Imelda completely, more get inside of her head. She probably won’t agree, but I wanted to understand a little bit of what made her do those things and how it’s possible to get into that corrupt position.”
“When I realised that I wanted the whole show to be a medium for dance music I went to Norman Cook to see if he could help out in that department” said Byrne.
“I was a fan and I thought that his stuff had a real range to it, it’s not all techno or one kind of beat, and he was in a band at one point so he understands there is such a thing as a song.”
Lyrics in Here Lies Love were often lifted directly from speeches, interviews, recordings from the time and even Marcos’s high school yearbook. One song is taken verbatim from a speech that Benigno Aquino gave about President Marcos building arts centres and not doing enough for the shanty towns in Manila, while another is based on quotes from an oral history of the People Power revolution that Byrne stumbled across.
The title of the musical comes from Imelda’s self-proposed epitaph.
Marcos, 83, is back in the Philippines as a congresswoman, and two of her children are also in national office. Marcos is also aware of the musical (she was reportedly “flattered” when she heard the songs). Byrne admits that, while he can’t really stop anyone from coming to see it, he said “a group photo with Imelda and me and the cast all together would be really unfortunate for us”.
*1:Mentioned in http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091203/1259847415
*3:http://www.davidbyrne.com/ See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20060810/1155177382 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20070831/1188527985 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090330/1238350475 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090824/1251056271 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110922/1316629894 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080809/1218304271 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090309/1236622473 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090917/1253211853 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110910/1315671133 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20111012/1318389065 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20131012/1381596884
*4:http://fatboyslim.net/ See eg. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Cook http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%95%E3%82%A1%E3%83%83%E3%83%88%E3%83%9C%E3%83%BC%E3%82%A4%E3%83%BB%E3%82%B9%E3%83%AA%E3%83%A0
*6:“Nonesuch to release cast recording of David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love musical” http://www.factmag.com/2014/04/10/cast-recording-of-here-lies-love-david-byrne-fatboy-slim-musical/
*7:http://www.toriamos.com/ See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20060302/1141268557 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20070707/1183781997 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091211/1260507633 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100108/1262918940 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20101001/1285878385 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20101004/1286202366 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110209/1297224029 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110815/1313383126 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20111106/1320600684 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20131006/1381061105
*8:See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20070305/1173066409 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080923/1222143799 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100620/1277043953 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20101018/1287401984