Master of the Astral Plane 
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Master of the Astral Plane.mp3

Music and Libretto by Stuart Diamond
Produced by William Boswell 
And The Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, City University of New York 
Premiere: February 4, 1982

Narrator: Harry Fleetwood
Samantha: Audrey Levine
The Knight: Brian McGovern
King Tookiyama: Kevin Knutsen (French Horn)

Interview with Mark Laiosa (from his program Ear Massage) - WBAI.FM (99.5 NY) - January 17, 2016
IN MEMORY of HARRY FLEETWOOD

WBAI Interview.mp3

THE MASTER OF THE ASTRAL PLANE (Synopsis)

Samantha fell asleep one night listening to her favorite classical radio station. But the chili and onions she ate that night were soon to seek its revenge. She tosses and turns, dreamily descending into the realm of The Mater of The Astral Plane. There she meets King Tookiyama and his demon henchmen. Demons, being what they are, spirit her off to the darkest regions and deposit her into a large kettle and begin cooking her for their evening meal.

 
Samantha sings a grand aria bemoaning her fate to end up as an evening stew. She staves off her hungry nightmare mates with a giant carrot, hoping against hope that she might still be rescued. In the nick of time,  a White Knight with his trusty guitar by his side comes to the rescue. The demons beat a hasty retreat.  Samantha and The Knight quickly fall in love and dance away the evening to a country waltz.
But King Tookiyama, an ever vengeful soul, returns to seek the love of his new found bride to be. The White Knight and The King square off in a fight to the death in what now appears to be a Las Vegas wrestling ring, replete with beautiful dancing demons attending the two harried warriors.
As the two archetypes duke it out, Samantha primps and sings wondering who will be her final champion. Through sheer will and courage the White Knight recovers from a deadly grip to emerge in triumph. Samantha who was shifting sides with the tide of the battle swoons her allegiance to The Victor.
Just as The White Knight is about to take Samantha's hand, she is called back to her daytime world. (If she stays too long she may never return at all.) In a wistful grand finale King Tookiyama returns and along with the White Knight bids her adieu.

Back in bed all snug and tucked in, she awakens to her radio station,  quite content... until she finds her bed crawling with demons nibbling on her toes.

 MASTER OF THE ASTRAL PLANE 
Music and Libretto by Stuart Diamond

(Samantha enters her bedroom and gets into bed for a good nigh sleep. As she pulls up the cover she tunes in her radio to her favorite classical radio station.)

NARRATOR:
Good Evening this is Fleetwood, your host for tonight, welcoming you to another evening of music to sleep by.

We are presenting an entire night of relaxing music that will transport you to wakeful restful slumber.    We begin tonight’s program with a harpsichord work of Abalone Albilini. The great Italian keyboard master whose works have come to symbolize the refined subtle eloquence of the high baroque rococo style.  He lived from 1691 to 1748 and was a contemporary of Bach. Perhaps not the great master’s equal he did prove that the entire school of Italian keyboard composition and playing was filled with verve and sophistication. We begin with Sonata #1…

(Samantha drifts off to sleep and descend into a dream state. Demons emerge from out of closets and under the bed, dancing merrily.)


SAMANTHA: (Demon Waltz)
I think that I heard something over there
The wind or a bird or a closing door
But what if it was something more
Than the creaking of a rickety floor.
If nothing's here why do I
Hide and tremble here beneath my sheet.
I'm sure that I feel something in the air,
A chill in the room and a strange atmosphere.
A robber or a rapist.
No it’s my imagination, nothing to fear.

All these silly things are merely figments of my imagination.
We studied all about such things in school.
And they are nothing more than mental delusion,
Mere hypnogogic manifestations of a psychological problem
      rooted deeply in the past by some preadolescent trauma.
They're fairytale-like symbols that create a materialistic vision
      of the forces which have been unleashed by the chili and onions I ate.
This has disturbed my normal circadian rhythms and heart-rate.
And all I have to do is close my eyes and these things will not recur.
I merely have to concentrate and these gloomy sights will go away.
I only have to shut my eyes a little bit tighter.

(Samantha closes her eyes tightly. But when she opens them the demons are still there.)

Help! Oh my God! There is something in here.
It's not indigestion, I see them right there.
Ugly and vile, they're everywhere
Nibbling on my toes and pulling my hair
What are they?
Go away!
Leave me alone.
You are nasty and gross.

Give me back my sheet.
Stop yanking out my hair.
What do you want?

Ouch! Help, somebody!
Please stop chewing on my feet!
What's happening?
Oh my God!
Help me, somebody!

(The demons tie up Samantha, before abducting her and carriny her off to the Astral Plane)  

NARRATOR:

We interrupt this program to bring you an important newsflash. Princess Samantha has been kidnapped. Unconfirmed reports say she has spirited off by demons from the Astral Plane. An uniformed source confirms that she will presented to King Tookiyama, who will decide her fate.  We will keep you informed of the latest developments as they develop. We return you know to our regular scheduled program.

(The demons deposit Samantha into an iron kettle where they begin to prepare her for dinner. King Tookiyama arrives. They all dance around her with giant forks and knives in preparation for their evening meal.)

SAMANTHA:
I never really thought that my life would end like this.
There’s so much more to be living for.
And so why am I in this spot being a stew in a pot for this awful crew
I always had the hope that I’d die very peacefully,
Surrounded by my close family and some friends,
Not this dreadful bunch who have come for eat
A well done lunch of some Samantha meat,

No, you can’t have me.
I am much more than a midnight snack.
Better stop or I will bop you.
Get away I smash your face.
I will fight for my right to go home tonight.

(In a blaze of light an Elvis Presley look-alike suddenly appears, guitar in hand, to save the day.)

NARRATOR:
The noble shining Night has heard Samantha’s cry.
He has arrived to deliver her from her distress,
Strong of arm, courageous of heart, and high of ideals,
He has come to fight the evil Tookiyama.

THE KNIGHT:
Hey baby, I heard your call, I am your shining knight.
Soon you’ll love me from the bottom of your little heart
So here I am baby, I am yours for the rest of the night
To love and to cherish until morning do us part.
So take my hand and hold it tight.
It’s the love of your life and it’s about to start.
And we’ll be together until it gets light.

(Samantha and The Knight dance to a country waltz as they look dreamily into each other’s eyes.)

NARRATOR:
Now begins the fight to the death for the body and soul of Princess Samantha
The eternal confrontation between good and evil.

(King Tookiyama, an ever vengeful soul, returns to seek the love of his new found bride to be. The Knight and The King square off in a fight to the death in what now appears to be a Las Vegas wrestling ring, replete with beautiful dancing demons attending the two harried warriors. As the two archetypes duke it out, Samantha primps and sings wondering who will be her final champion. Through sheer will and courage the Knight recovers from a deadly grip to emerge in triumph. Samantha who was shifting sides with the tide of the battle swoons her allegiance to The Victor.)

SAMANTHA:
Who is this Lancelot? Why has he come to save me from this evil one?
Why does he fight so gallantly? Maybe he wants me to be his Guinevere

Who is this evil king - who fights so royally to conquer my faithful knight?
What does he really want of me? Maybe he wants to make me his evil queen.

Who are these men and why do they fight each other and what do they want from me?
Who are these two and why are they fighting over me?

(Just as The Knight is about to take Samantha's hand, she is called back to her daytime world. If she stays too long she may never return at all)

NARRATOR:
Tookiyama, Master of the Astral Plane is Dead. The Knight has freed her from the demon’s lair. The first rays of dawn filter into her dreamy world. The birds begin to call for Samantha to return.

KNIGHT:
Stay with me where dreams will never fade.
A magic land where love can last forever.
Please don’t go away back to your lonely world.
Stay till day and I will never disappear.

SAMANTHA:
Maybe I can stay here longer, I don’t want to go back where I belong

KNIGHT:
Please don’t leave me.
This is where we you belong.

NARRATOR:
Samantha , come. It is time for you to return. We are waiting come, before it is too late.  You can see your friend another night. It is time for me to leave this lovely land.

SAMANTHA:
In this magic land is where dreams never fade
This land where love can last forever.
Should I stay until day, thenI will never leave you.
Where I will never be lost and forgotten.

KNIGHT:
Please stay with me where dreams never fade.
This land where love can last forever.
Please stay until day and I will never leave you.
Where you will never be lost and forgotten

Please don’t leave me, stay here longer
Please don’t go back where you belong,

NARRATOR:
Samantha my dear. Time is running out. You must return before daybreak. You must return before it is too late.

(King Tookiyama returns and along with the Knight they bid Samantha her adieu.)

KNIGHT:
If you go, you won’t remember. It will only be a dream.  
Will you remember us?  For we will fade away forever.
Do not let us die a dark and lonely death.
We will be but be a dark and faded dream?

Some day you may stay here longer,
Someday you may stay and never leave.

SAMANTHA:
If I go. I will remember. It was more than just a dream.
Will I remember? Will it fade away forever?
Will this love die a dark and lonely death?
Is this all but a dark and faded dream?

Some day I may stay here longer,
Someday I may stay and never leave

(The scene fades away and Samantha is returned to her bedroom -- all snug and tucked in under her covers. She awakens to her radio station, quite content.)

NARRATOR:
Good morning everyone.  Welcome to breakfast philharmonic. It is bright and beautiful new day outside. The temperature is 62 degrees and the clouds are partly sunny.  The traffic is heavy to moderate and there are delays on all subway lines.  The Breakfast Philharmonic will continue with Albalone Albilini’s  23rd Sonatina for harpsichord and continuo. This performance features the impeccable performance feature of the great German keyboard artist Hans Hoffing, rendering his interpretation on a direct to disc digitally enhanced…

(Samantha hits the snooze button on the radio and tries to go back to bed. Suddenly she is awakened by a rustling. One of the demons has crawled out from under the bed. It has a salt shaker and is sprinkling her foot with salt. It is about to chomp on a delicious toe. Suddenly Samantha realizes in horror what is happening.)

 

  Copyright 1982 & 2016