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Meine Kinder feat. Caitlin Gjerdrum (P. K. Tirol & D. Molho)

PAULOPHONIC on December 30, 2012 12:32

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    It is before dawn on November 10, 1938, shortly after the madness of what would come to be known as Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass, has died down.

    In coordinated attacks throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria, countless Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools have been attacked with sledgehammers; over 1,000 synagogues have been destroyed; over 7,000 Jewish businesses have been destroyed or damaged; and 91 Jews have been killed, and over 30,000 Jews arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps.

    We are in a dark room in shambles in Berlin. From the flickering light of dying fires outside the window, we can see that the floor is littered with overturned furniture, shattered lamps and china, vandalized artworks, torn books and papers -- and countless tiny, twinkling bits of shattered glass.

    In the darkest corner of the room, a young Jewish woman trembles, reeling from the shock of the unimaginable ordeal she has just undergone: the destruction of her home, the arrest of her husband, the turning against her of neighbors she once thought to be friends, and the unprovoked, unbridled, all-too-palpable show of hatred towards her and her people.

    The young woman shifts in the firelight; and we see that, huddling with her in the shadow, are her two small children.

    Thus the stage is set for "Meine Kinder" ("my children"), co-written with David Molho and performed by Caitlin Gjerdrum last October for our first assignment for Musical Theater Writing class: write a song whose lyrics are based on a lie.

    ==================================

    MEINE KINDER
    Words by Paulo K Tirol
    Music by David Molho & Paulo K Tirol
    Performed by Caitlin Gjerdrum (vocals) & Paulo K Tirol (piano)
    Engineered by David Molho

    How does one think,
    How does one feel on a night like this?
    How does one breathe,
    How does one see in this darkness,
    This deepening darkness?
    Hard as it might be, I must bring myself to see
    Through this darkness
    For you.

    A million stars are strewn across the floor;
    Can you believe it's you they twinkle for?
    They glisten in the fire's light,
    Take it in, this magic sight!
    Sparkling little stars, and nothing more!
    The worst is over, meine kinder.

    It's not unlike the way we played our games,
    With cries and shouts and sometimes cruel names.
    With covered eyes, we'd count to ten
    And seek out all our friends; and when
    We'd fall and scrape our knees, we passed no blame!
    The worst is over, meine kinder.

    We'll find our way though right and wrong have blurred;
    We'll kneel and pray though no one hears the words.
    We fear to feel, we dread what's real;
    It's all behind us, we will find a way!
    Yes, we will find a way.

    As building blocks too soon come tumbling down,
    As watercolors turn to muddy brown,
    What we take many years to build
    Takes moments to unmake, and still --
    The worst is over, meine kinder.

    A million stars are strewn across the floor,
    Meine kinder, meine kinder.

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