DUET FROM HOLY GHOSTS (2007), op. 93

Opus number: op. 93

Title: Duet from Holy Ghosts

Instrumentation: Tenor, soprano, piano

Text: Andrea Olmstead based on the play by Romulus Linney

Texts: click here

COLEMAN. My name is Coleman Hannibal Shedman, Junior.
I own and manage–
– the Shedman Fish Farm,
left me by my father when he died.
Like a fool,
I wanted to get married.
On our honeymoon I took her all the way to Virginia!
NANCY. Oh, Coleman, you are as dumb as a ditch!

COLEMAN. To camp at beautiful Hungry Mother State Park!
I planned for us to fish together.
All she could say was,
NANCY. Hungry Mother is a stupid name for a State Park,
and a miserable place for a Christian honeymoon.
COLEMAN. One week ago.
I come home upset,
full of misguided love.
I took Nancy tenderly in my arms,
NANCY. Coleman you are the disgust of this world.
COLEMAN. and tried to tell her how much I cared.
NANCY. Oh, my God!
COLEMAN. But I was tired!
NANCY. Oh, my God!
COLEMAN. Working and slaving
to support my wife at the fish farm.
And when I woke up the next morning,
wife, furniture, family heirlooms, and my Dodge pick-up, gone!
In their place, a little note.
NANCY. (Sweetly) “Dear Coleman. Last night
I met a real man. Yours truly, Nancy.”
COLEMAN. I want my furniture,
family heirlooms, my Dodge pick-up, and a divorce!
NANCY. A lot more happened that night than you’ll admit,
you horse-faced rat and rodent, you.
You were not full of misguided love,
you were full of beer and whiskey!
And all of a sudeen grabbing me.
In spite of myself,
I was swept with carnal desire.
When I finally managed to get my clothes decently off,
You pawying and clutching,
And finally, I wanted you
Because I want a baby, Colman,
A baby, and said so!
Then, you climbing on top of me on that old sofa
And just hanging there.
Then passing out! Out! Boom!
Me rolling humiliated out from under you,
You rolled over on the floor, flot!
Like thant, with your pants down
And that thing of yours aslep just like you, flo[!
COLEMAN: I want my furiture,
My family heirlooms, and my Dodge pickup truck.
NANCY. You don’t know what it’s like,
To be a mortified wife.
I felt so bad.
Dear Jesus, I prayed, give me a sign.
Somdoby was aat the front door.
I turned around crying.
It was Oby.
COLEMAN: Doing what, preacher!
Wacking off?
NANCY: Asking if I had a match.
So he could light his campfire
So understanding and polite
(I was naked.)
I put on my clothes.
And I went with him to his campfire.
I told Oby everything.
He understood.
And he told me things, about life,
and Jesus our Lord, and the Bible,
things that I never heard before anywhere.
COLEMAN. I want my furniture, my family heirlooms, and my Dodge pick-up truck.
NANCY. And he took me in his manly arms,
and he said a prayer in my ear, and kissed me.
What a difference, between (pointing at Oby) day
and (pointing to Coleman) night!

Date written: 2007

Length: ten minutes

Premiere performance: January 20, 2008, Chelsea Basler, Thomas Gregg, Larry Bell, pianist

Program Notes: Duet from Holy Ghosts, Op. 93, is a selection of two duets for soprano and tenor that are first sung in the opera Holy Ghosts. The excerpts were first sung at a recital in January 2008 in Williams Hall at New England Conservatory by soprano Chelsea Basler and tenor Thomas Gregg.