“1. You write a poem. 2. You contact us with your poem, requesting we turn it into a song as an mp3 or CD. 3. We reply and send you a request for payment through PayPal.4. After we receive payment, we create a song using your poem as lyrics. This can take up to 3 weeks.” – Poetrytomusic.com.
The idea sounds a tiny bit nutty, sort of sweet, slightly scam-ish, and definitely born in the minds of a couple of beatnik artist/musician types. For Australian lyricist Steve (last name withheld for reasons revealed in the show), stumbling upon this website changed his life forever. For the creators of Poetrytomusic.com, Colin Summers and Andrew Eckel, Steve was pretty much the only person who indulged them. With over 300 collaborations spanning approximately eight years, the three music makers had their hands full with one another.
The world obviously conspired to bring these three people together. The true story of how Steve, Colin and Andrew came to this point in their lives defies social norms, logical conclusions and rational human interaction. Likewise, a staged production of this story by the New York Neo-Futurists defies theatrical limitations.
Written and performed by Colin Summers, Steve: A Docu-Musical is a brilliant example of documentary theatre. Summers has woven this story in such a way that the audience is given the chance to fall in love with Steve's mind and soul. Summers carries an air of candid charm, gentle wit and appreciation for beauty as he slowly unveils the thoughtful, perceptive and cleverly humorous Steve.
The intelligence of the staging -- all the way from the many forms of multi-media and live music, right down to the smart use of a clerk’s bell and, of course, the final moment we actually hear Steve’s lovely voice -- points to why director Nessa Norich is such an interesting artist. Her approach to and delicate handling of this story are admirable. Set designer Joey Rizzolo creates a stage that is both utilitarian and visually satisfying.
Steve: A Docu-Musical offers its audience a rosier lens through which to see the world. The power of the theatre as a chronicler of life is affirmed with Steve's mindful simplicity and devastating candor. Leaving this show, one can’t help but imagine those tiny invisible strings that link us straight to our destiny.