HANGMAN, HANGMAN! THE TOWN OF GREED
Hangman, Hangman! which was premiered in 1982 was inspired by a song from the American Far West. Johnny, the protagonist carries out a robbery and is condemned to death. Through music which is lively, agile and at the same time bittersweet, Balada shows us the defencelessness of this simple, guileless dreamer, the victim of the most absurd and outrageous injustice. The Town of Greed, written in 1997, takes up the characters of the previous work of twenty years earlier. Surprisingly, the moribund Johnny of Hangman, Hangman! is now a powerful businessman. With great doses of black humour and irreverence, Balada attacks plundering capitalism and cynicism in general with great force.
Hangman, Hangman! is a free adaptation of an American folk song. The Town of Greed is the second part.
About HANGMAN, HANGMAN! / THE STORYLINE
Johnny is a dreamer. He has been caught stealing a horse and has been condemned to death. When he is taken to prison, the reasons he gives to explain his crime have to do with a great number of stories, all poetic and surreal.
When he rings his mother to ask for help to pay the bond, she testifies that even before he was born the boy was a bad penny and so deserves the punishment. Surprisingly she says that his father has arrived and that he, on the other hand, will pay the bond, that is to say, the price of the horse. But then the father says that he is sorry that he can’t be around for the execution because his mule has been injured.
When Johnny seems resigned to his execution his girlfriend, Sweetheart, appears. She is a girl with a bad reputation but tries to get the hangman not to act. She begs for his pardon in the name of love, but without any success. Suddenly an Irishman comes on the scene, one who has bought the entire region so as to industrialise it. Touched by the girl’s song, he pays the bail and becomes Johnny’s manager. And now everyone wants to be his friend. Johnny omments with cynicism on how far greed changes people.
About THE TOWN OF GREED / Storyline
The Town of Greed works as a strong criticism of society. The characters and the situations are presented forcefully and directly with irreverence. In the first part Johnny is an influential man who works hard in businesses of a dubious nature to be able to make a good life for his family, and for the people of his city. This will be the beginning of all sorts of complications around the world, in company with his girlfriend, Sweetheart.
In the second part the situation gets worse. The Sheriff and the executioner say that hard times are coming for the people of the town. Scared, Johnny tries to calm them down suggesting war as a solution. If there is war, then there is business.
No one believes in the honesty of his proposal, so they once more clamour for his execution. He goes to the Irishman who helped him twenty years earlier, but now the latter couldn’t care less. Suddenly he has a brilliant idea for a new business, and it seems that everyone will support him on this. But a new magnate appears and buys the town, this time to build there a toxic dump. He suggests that Johnny should die… will he bring this about?
Music and libretto: Lleonard Balada
Gran Teatre del Liceu / Foyer
15, 17 and 18 November 2007
Story: AKRAN MIDANI I LLEONARD BALADA
Musical direction: ÁLVARO ALBIACH
Stage direction GUSTAVO TAMBASCIO
Johnny: MARLIN MILLER Mother: INÉS MORALEDA Father: IVÁN GARCÍA Sweetheart: MARIA HINOJOSA Sheriff: ENRIC MARTÍNEZ-CASTIGNANI Executioner: JOSEP FERRER Narrator: JAUME COMAS Man among the public EMILIO GAVIRA
THE TOWN OF GREED
Johnny: MARLIN MILLER Mother: INÉS MORALEDA Father: IVÁN GARCÍA Sweetheart: MARIA HINOJOSA Sheriff: ENRIC MARTÍNEZ-CASTIGNANI Executioner: JOSEP FERRER Ambassador: ENRIC MARTÍNEZ-CASTIGNANI Capote: JOSEP FERRER Tokopoko: IVAN LABANDA Irishman’s secretary: LÍDIA HILL Man from Wall Street: EMILIO GAVIRA Queen’s secretary: MIREIA GUBIANES King’s secretary: ÓSCAR MELLADO People of the town: CHORUS
ORCHESTRA OF THE ACADEMY OF THE GRAN TEATRE DEL LICEU
Scenography: JUAN PEDRO GASPAR
Models: JESÚS RUÍZ
Lighting: RAIMON RIUS
Coproduction: GRAN TEATRE DEL LICEU, CAIXA DE CATALUNYA AND FOBNC