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"We All Share the Same World" a Song from a New Stage Musical by Aya Katz and Daniel Carter
After nearly a year of work, Aya Katz and I have been able to make a lot of progress on her script of The Debt Collector. The stage musical has over a dozen and a half songs in it, with "We All Share the Same World" as feature piece in the show.
Around the beginning of 2010, we began trying to produce demos of the songs for the musical. It's not a small undertaking to turn home recordings in to youtube videos! The process of getting all the parts and pieces together is really time consuming. But the education and experience I find, are worth the effort.
"We All Share the Same World" is meant to convey two conflicting points of view, and in The Debt Collector it is sung by two characters: Siren and Blood. Siren is a social worker trying to protect the interests of the downtrodden, and Blood is The Debt Collector, a vigilante enforcer of contracts operating outside the law. The beginning of the song expresses Siren's world outlook, and the part starting with "It is true what you say" all the way to the end of the song is Blood's take on the issues."
When Helga Hauser, a financially struggling widowed landlady, is unable to collect back rent from the Lark family, or even to have them evicted, there is no one for her to turn to for help but The Debt Collector, a vigilante enforcer of contracts by the name of Blood.
Enter, Siren Thompson, a social worker intent on saving the Larks. Siren believes in helping people and taking from the rich to give to the poor. Blood believes in the sanctity of contracts and an eye for an eye. The two are drawn to each other romantically but are kept apart by differences of philosophy and communication style. Blood is direct. Siren is manipulative.
The tenants, Lottie and Carl Lark, are the parents of seven children and are expecting a baby. They are living on public assistance, and their prospects are not good. When two of the Lark children, Dexter, and Sophie, run into the Debt Collector while he is in the process of evicting them, they enlist his help in collecting a debt from their parents. This in turn leads the children to join the Debt Collector in his solitary life for a short while. When the children's absence is reported, child protective services step in, and all the children are removed from their parents' home. But when Sophie's life is endangered by a woman intent on adopting her, the Larks realize that only one person can save her: The Debt Collector.
This is a play about interdependence and the ethical standard that should be applied in all relationships. Landlords need tenants and tenants need landlords. Children and parents need one another, as do husbands and wives. Even those with diametrically opposed views on life, like Blood and Siren, can find a place where they can meet. But none of this can work unless we keep our end of the social contract. And who better to see that we do, but The Debt Collector?
We All Share the Same World
Aya says that she came up with the idea of the Debt Collector while practicing law in Grand Prairie, Texas in the 1980s.
"In those days, women were encouraged to divorce their husbands and apply for welfare, while AFDC eventually went after the hapless ex-husbands, and garnished their wages or imprisoned them -- not to pay for the children's upkeep, but to reimburse the State for its trouble."
With this kind of experience, Aya set out to write a social commentary work about what she saw and experienced. And to this day, the issues of over 20 years ago are as timeless and timely as they were in the 1980s.
When I received some sample scenes and lyrics from Aya, I was captivated by her gutsy, fearless style of writing in addressing some very pressing issues for our time. After reading the lyrics to "We All Share the Same World" I remembered a tune I wrote back in the late 1970s for another show that never materialized. I really liked the tune, but lamented a bit that it may never really be used in a show that would be produced. After modifying the tune a little here and there, it seemed to be exactly the right feel for "We All Share the Same World." And then my collaboration with Aya began on The Debt Collector. It is still a work in progress, but we are hopeful that refinements, readings, demos and other preparatory work will yield our hoped-for production.
We will continue to create more demos and videos of The Debt Collector, and post them as we can. We hope that you enjoy them as we are able to bring the project to life.
Be sure and visit Aya's hub for her perspective and history on the development and creation of The Debt Collector.