Photo by Dan Norman.
In the spirit of my First Though, Worst Thought project, this musical began as a very bad idea: a 40-minute sound poem about a guy named Bill who’s paying his bills. Since this initial idea, it has evolved into a sci-fi musical set 100 years into the future once the sea levels have risen, flooding San Francisco’s financial district. The drama takes place in the downtown commune (the future word for “office”) of the CryOm corportation. For clients, CryOm provides eternal life — take a pill once per month and you’ll live forever (though you’re always a bit chilly). For CryOm it’s the perfect business model — eternally returning customers.
In 2015 I started to develop the musical for the stage with the Minneapolis-based choreography duo Fire Drill (Emily Gastineau and Billy Mullaney). In 2017, with the support of The Walker Art Center, The Southern Theater, The Cowles Center, The Jerome Foundation and Minneapolis’ Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, we staged Bill: The Musikill with a 11-person cast as part of the Momentum Dance festival.
Below you will find a recording of the musical itself as well as recordings of parts of the musical from a number of solo performances and a few practices with the cast.This recording was made live during the Momentum Dance Festival, commissioned by The Jerome Foundation, The Walker Art Center, The Cowles Center and The Southern Theater, in July 2017.
Documentation of the earliest solo performance of Bill: The Musikill. Performed by Tom Comitta at E.M. Wolfman Bookstore in 2015. Video by Otis Pig.
The lyrics of “Random Obvious Observation” deconstruct an office water cooler banter that escalates into an argument. Fire Drill’s choreography will quote Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring.
“The Sound of Billing” performed by Tom Comitta and members of the audience at Swissnex, San Francisco on November 30, 2016. This performance was the closing event for the exhibition Re:Dada.
A 5-minute selection containing four songs and dance numbers from the 45-minute stage version of this musical. Choreographed by Fire Drill.
Bill: The Musikill has been commissioned by the Cowles Center in part with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation, and is presented in partnership with Southern Theater, and Walker Art Center. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.