Background / Development Phases for Athens & Knossos

Also see:
Production Approach

1. Research and Story Structuring 1979-1986

First involving former teachers, fellow students and history club associates of the author from prep school and college studying aspects of everyday life in various ancient cultures in the late 1970's. Later evolving to author's examination - with correspondence and feedback - of theories and evidence for the Atlantis legends and a possible relationship to the 'Theseus' and 'Minotaur' legends of the Bronze Age Mediterranean -- and the subsequent 'Dorian Invasion' of Greece -- utilizing over 600 source materials and texts. [see Research page]

Within several years the author and supporters became convinced there were strong, history-based story elements in the late Bronze Age period with also a strong relationship to important American concepts within the chain of history. And that this story could be told with a primary emphasis on concepts traceable to the period -- as an historical education piece -- and in a style where the author had extensive experience and background, for many years-- American musical theater.


2. Story Outline, Character Profiles, Drafts 1986 - 1991

Story outlines were developed first from an 'umbrella' structure of traceable concepts to be included, with careful consideration to existing knowledge of historical scenarios behind the myths and legends. [see Research page] Character profiles were constructed also from these -- in the case of 'known' personalities -- or from reasonable evidence and writings of the times for 'projected' personalities not mentioned in history or legend [i.e. average people] [see Characters page] Numerous scene outlines and dialogue drafts were compiled in book form, then condensed several times into a 'beginning' script completed by the author in 1991- with extensive audience-testing and further development outlined below.


3. Workshops, Productions, Showcases 1992 - 2000

A number of separate development projects involving literally hundreds of actors, dancers,set, costume and related production people over a period of several years -- where script testing and audience reaction were the highest priorities.

Also planned for 2004: Educational Short-lecture series [Fall 2004] Independent Stage Motion Picture [Nov. 2004] -- with Educational/ Volunteer Program Presentations [Nov. 2004]


4. MUSIC -- Studio Production and Audience Testing 1989 - 1999

The nineteen musical tracks from the stage album for Athens & Knossos were chosen from a library of over 300 existing compositions by author M.R.MacDonald, written over a period of 25 years.

Each were chosen and adapted for particular matching to scenes, character emotions, theme reinforcement -- and especially for particular choral and tone relationships to each other within the show, for overall cohesion. Each selection was separately arranged and built to full-orchestra mode using live and real-instrument sampling [some up to fifty instruments] -- over a period of nearly five years -- with musicians and vocalists from the Hartford and New York City areas -- in a style described as 'power symphony', emphasizing clear melodic elements combined with the darker chords sometimes seen in classic rock.

In addition to workshops and showcase productions, extensive audience testing was done separately through the 1990's at dozens of songwriter conventions, small music festivals and industry seminars -- with a number of local and regional awards -- each selection receiving approximately 6-10 screenings each, by test audiences of 40-50 people on average.

To date, nearly 8,000 units of the original soundtrack have been sold at productions and related events.


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