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Monday July 5, 2010 in Books
Hubert Clements is a black cellist on tour with a symphony orchestra. Their guest soloist is injured and the conductor asks Clements to stand in. After wrestling with an extremely difﬁcult passage in the performance piece, Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Cello, Clements ﬁnally resorts to improvising his way through the score, which earns him a stinging rebuke from the conductor, who disdainfully calls him “Satchmo’.”
Humiliated, Clements returns to his hotel room, where try as he might he cannot master the piece. Unwittingly invoking the ghost of Louis Armstrong, the highly mythologized spirit of “the father of jazz himself,” Satchmo’ challenges Clements’ prejudiced view of him as an amateur and an “Uncle Tom.” Gradually, the lives of the characters intertwine and begin to play off each other as issues of class, hope, courage, family and race emerge in a lively and powerful struggle between what we remember, and how we remember it. In the end, of course, the drama resolves with Clements’ beautiful rendition of the Bach piece.
The play ultimately explores the polarities of existence—between the head and the heart, between logic and intuition, between insecurity and faith, between the present and the past, and between the personal and the public, and it is Hubert and Louis who embody these concepts for the audience. Finally, it’s a play about dealing with life’s struggles, having the courage to face one’s demons, and then having the faith to go on and be the best you can be.
Originally written as a highly successful one-person show, the play has evolved over the years into an ensemble piece with a cast of ﬁve. Full of great jazz and classical music, but using none of Satchmo’s own compositions, the play incorporates nine original jazz songs, co-written by the author-musicians, into the action.
ISBN 13: 9780889226487 | ISBN 10:
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 80 pages
$16.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000
QUOTES OF NOTE
“An irresistible meeting of music and drama, The Satchmo’ Suite really
— Montreal Gazette
About the ContributorsHans Böggild
Playwright, dramaturg, and director Hans Böggild has had a forty-year career in Canadian theatre, including a position as artistic producer at the innovative Eastern Front Theatre.Doug Innis
Toronto-based Doug Innis is a celebrated cellist, jazz musician, and composer.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.