Fallujah
Composer: Tobin Stokes
Composer Bio: Tobin recieved a university degree in classical and Latin percussion and explored computer music, while playing drums and keyboards in rock bands, and performing as a choral singer, jazz pianist and vibraphonist. He settled into full-time freelance composing twenty years ago. Based on Canada's west coast, he now writes for film, opera, orchestra, choir, television, theatre, dance, chamber ensembles, soloists, and large events. ? He's been commissioned by the 2010 Olympics, the Victoria Symphony, the Elektra Women's Choir, CBC Radio, the XV Commonwealth Games, Ballet British Columbia, and more. He has scored films and film series for the BBC, Eden Channel, CBC, ABC (Australia), with distribution to many other networks, feature theatres and film festivals in countless countries. His choral works are performed regularly in various countries and are published in Canada, USA, and France. Choral and orchestral writing, along with extensive theatre collaborations as a performer, music director, sound designer, arranger and composer, have all led to a love in creating opera. He has been commissioned by the Annenberg Foundation/Explore.org and City Opera Vancouver and is involved in a number of new opera and music theatre projects, some as composer, and others as composer/librettist. Tobin is a former Composer In Residence with the Victoria Symphony (Canada), the International Choral Kathaumixw Festival (Canada), the Urban Youth Choir Festival (Sweden), and the Symphony Orchestra and Academy of the Pacific (Canada), He is currently Composer In Residence for the Pacific Region International Symphony Music Academy (Canada) and Music Director for The Other Guys Theatre Company (Canada).
Librettist: Heather Raffo
Librettist Bio: Heather is an actor and playwright. is the recipient of a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Special Commendation and the Marian Seldes-Garson Kanin Fellowship for 9 Parts of Desire. Most recently, she received a 2005 Lucille Lortel award for Best Solo show, as well as an Outer Critics Circle Nomination and a Drama League nomination for Outstanding Performance. Raffo first performed 9 Parts of Desire in August 2003 at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. It later moved to the Bush Theatre in London's Off-West End, where critics hailed it as one of the five best plays in London in late 2003. 9 Parts of Desire was then developed and performed as a reading at The Public Theatre as part of their New Work Now festival in spring 2004. Its New York premiere took place in the fall of 2004 at the Manhattan Ensemble Theater, where the show ran for nine sold-out months. In 2005, the play began touring the U.S. at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Following are new productions at Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, The Wilma Theatre, and Arena Stage in D.C., as well as international productions. Heather's recent acting credits include: The feature film Vino Veritas, dir. Sarah Knight; In Darfur (world premiere The Public Theater, Delacourt); Nerjas ElSaffar, New York premiere Palace of the End (Drama League Nomination), Epic Theater Center; Seven, Skirball Center, London's House of Lords, Aspen Ideas Festival; Sarah Woodruff, world premiere The French Lieutenant's Woman, Fulton Opera House. Off-Broadway: Over The River and Through the Woods, Off Broadway/National Tour of Macbeth (Lady Macbeth), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Mistress Page) and The Rivals all with The Acting Company. Regional: As You like It, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth at the Old Globe Theater San Diego. She received her BA from the University of Michigan, her MFA from the University of San Diego and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. Originally from Michigan, Raffo divides her time between New York and Los Angeles. Her father is from Iraq and her mother is American.
Premiere Date: March 12, 2016
Description: The opera spans a 72-hour holding period in a veterans’ hospital following USMC Philip Houston’s third suicide attempt. His mother waits to see him outside his hospital room, but Philip has not been able to face her since he returned from war. The loyal marines he served with stand vigilant, more equipped to care for his particular demons than she. In these 72 hours, Philip’s battle is as vivid and deadly as the war in which he fought. In the opening scene Wissam, a young Iraqi boy, enters his hospital room and, in a befriending gesture, writes his name on Philip’s hand. Suddenly one of Philip’s most humanizing memories becomes the catalyst through which he remembers how to live. Philip’s hours in the hospital force him to face both past and present. Scenes fly back and forth to Fallujah, providing a rare glimpse inside real hearts and minds before one of the biggest battles of the Iraq War.  

On the eve of the Battle of Fallujah, assuming heavy losses ahead, we see Philip and his fellow marines make final calls home to their families to say goodbye, without hinting at the horror to come. Nearby, Wissam and his mother must abandon their centuries-old family home. The act finally joins these worlds, these mothers, these sons, with each lingering “goodbye” reminding us just how much each character has to lose.
Length: 01:50
Total Acts: 2
Contact: Tobin Stokes
E-mail Address: tobinstokes@gmail.com
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