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“Trane: Beyond the Blues”

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Rusch, C[hristine] (American playwright, teacher, published and produced free-lance writer, founding artistic director of playwrights theatre, dramaturg, consultant, 19__-____), “Trane: Beyond the Blues,”

a 60-minute biographical drama in English, set on a bare stage, during the lifetime of John William Coltrane, September 23,1926-July 17, 1967,


; • © 1997 by Christine Rusch; • in Christine Rusch’s Trane: Beyond the Blues (Wyandotte, Michigan, U.S.A.: The Author, 1997); • script/rights available from Christine Rusch, P.O. Box 202, Wyandotte, Michigan 48192, U.S.A., e-mail Isoperhaps@aol.com, telephone 734-324-3142. • Cited by Christine Rusch via ftp December 1, 1999; Rusch says,

§ Dramatis Personae [played by four actors] John Coltrane (m), throughout his life; Actress (f), Cousin Mary, Mama, Chanter, Bar Hostess, Autograph Seeker 2, Librarian, Bar Customer 2, Giggly Female, Naima, Zita Carna, Female Announcer, Audience Member 2, Alice, Reporter, Critic 3, Little Girl, Waitress; First Actor (m), Papa, White Face, Narrator 1, Brower, Chanter, Musician 1, Announcer 2, Charlie Parker, Eddie Vinson, Nasseridine, Lateef, Sam, Bar Customer 1, Joe Knight, Johnny Hodges, Miles Davis, Jimmy Cobb, Jimmy Garrison, Aud. Member 1, White Boy, Reggie, Critic 1, Bystander, 1st Gunman, Rasheid Ali, Japanese Guide; Second Actor (m), Reverend Blair, Hoodlum, Kinzer, Granoff, Chanter, Narrator 2, Announcer 1, Autograph Seeker 1, Old Man From Orient, Jimmy Heath, Cop, Jessie, Pusher, Earl Bostic, Gay Musician, Musician 2, Narcotics Officer, Thelonius Monk, Eric Dolplhy, McCoy Tyner, Audience Member 3, Critic 2, 2nd Gunman.

§ Synopsis “Brief vignettes involving moments and places and sounds reveal the life and music of John Coltrane from his teen years to his untimely death.

§ Comment “‘Trane: Beyond the Blues’ is a jazz-paced drama on a relatively-sparse stage. Upstage, four coat racks and four tables provide costume pieces and props for the actors to fill their various roles. Otherwise, platform cubes, and a few other set pieces, minimal and versatile, provide the ‘sets’ for the various scenes. Lighting moves us from scene to scene with a kind of musical fluidity and complements the various ‘sets’ along the way. ‘Trane’ was first read in 1986 at the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina The first production of the play was in 1989 at The Performance Network, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with Rob Douglas, Michele Daniels, Michele Daniels, Tom Krawford, and Michael Jameson. The director was Julie Hamberg. Musical consultant was Dr. Theodore Arwulf. The play is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Fred Holliday, former leader of the 23rd and Norris Street Gang in North Philadelphia. • ‘The play is a series of brief vignettes concentrating on important aspects of Coltrane’s life, spiritually, conceptually, and musically—from his teen years and early professional career, through the mid-50s, and on to his untimely death in 1967.’ • ‘A rapid series of scenes reveals a lifetime of voracious study and increasing spirituality which forged an artist of phenomenal power and insight.’ • ‘This portrait of a man who had “the future coming out of his horn” captures the feeling and flow of Coltrane’s life and how it was reflected in his jazz.’ • ‘A sensitive and highly imaginative saxophonist, Trane labored under the degradation of the nightclub scene and, like mentor Charlie Parker, suffered from being ahead of his time.’ • ‘No one swapped more parts than the alluring Michelle Daniels, who played the roles of Coltrane’s sister and mother; a hooker; and his wives Naima and Alice, with a magnetic personality. Her scene with (Michael) Jamison, as a reporter asking (McCoy) Tyner questions about the classic Coltrane Quartet of the 1960s, was particularly hilarious. It pointed out the general perceptions about Trane’s music, and the myths that still surround jazz.’—Michael G. Nastos, Ann Arbor News. • ‘Trane: Beyond the Blues’ is also available in a full-length version.

§ Themes “African-American, diversity, drug addiction, imagination, inequality, injustice, jazz, motherhood, multimedia, pacifism, parenting, music, religion, spirituality, surrealism, violence.”

See also Christine Rusch’s
  • "Boston Flamingo," a 43-minute romantic comedy in English, set in a New York City apartment, 1991, 2m1f
  • "Calendula," a 15-minute country comedy in English, set at the side of a narrow country highway near Beaufort, South Carolina near the edge of a salt marsh across from a stand of palms and pines twisted with greenbriar, on an already-hot morning in the summer of 2002, 2m1f
  • "Founding Mother's Lunch," a 15-minute political satire in English, set in the dining room of wealthy Colonist, various lunchtimes in pre-revolutionary America, 1767, 4m (2 of whom are extras)
  • "Going After," a 20-minute bare-stage drama in English, on a city street on November 1, 2000, 3m1f (+ voices)
  • "He Came Home One Day While I Was Washing Dishes," a 5-minute drama in English, set in the threadbare kitchen of Aclima's home, a late morning in the autumn of 2004, 1m1f
  • "How to Measure Half an Egg," a 15-minute romantic comedy in English, set in a beachfront restaurant on a clear but moonless evening, 2003, 2m1f
  • "The Man Who Buried His Dogs in the Front Yard," a 15-minute comedy in English, set in a small house between Atlanta and New Orleans, U.S.A., 2000, 2m1f
  • "The Man Who Came Back As a Ballroom Dancer," a 15-minute drama in English, set in The Electric Piano, a bar at a once-popular lakeside resort, 2000, 2m2f
  • "The New Sign," a 20-minute bare-stage drama in English, set in a parking lot of restaurant in the American South, October, 2001, 2m
  • "Palo Alto," a 20-minute romantic comedy in English, set in an upscale apartment, afternoon during dotcom boom of late 20th Century, 2m1f
  • "Potato Girl," a 20-minute drama in English, set in a farm warehouse in the South, 8:00 a.m., Friday morning, 1981, 1m2f
  • "A Samba for Wanda," a 60-minute alternative comedy in English, set in the 5th floor office of a university physics department, midmorning on a never-to-be-forgotten Tuesday, 1990, 2m2f
  • "Sarajevo," a 20-minute drama in English, set in "a country that no longer exists," in the early 1990s, 1m1f
  • "Tea Dust and Roses," a 60-minute biographical drama in English, set on a bare stage, during the lifetime of John William Coltrane, September 23,1926-July 17, 1967, 1m3f

This Website continues under construction and welcomes new citations and comments.

Page mounted December 4, 1999, and updated January 19, 20, July 12, August 17, 2000, October 16, 2004, by the site Webmaster.

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