The Beast of Aberdeen - A Christmas musical with a little more haunt than holly
Updated: Nov 30, 2019
In a 2016 interview on the Nerdist Writer's Panel podcast, filmmaker Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, The Monster Squad, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) discussed his choice to set Iron Man 3 during Christmas time and the necessary darkness in classic stories, saying...
"...Trumpet of the Swan, The Cricket in Times Square, the melancholy in these stories, these children's books, you didn't have to be happy, all cheery. But the great children's classics, Charlotte's Web, even Bambi, they're filled with an essential sense of life intruding upon your illusions of the innocents."
Christmas movies toy with the pain of the past and loss of innocents to remind us of inextinguishable hope that exists in darkness. In It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey is suicidal, teetering on the rail of a bridge midway through the film, but he chooses to return to his imperfect life and the forgiving arms of family and friends with the reminder of the good in humanity. Ebenezar Scrooge will never regain the lost years of hate and hurt he created for himself and the people around him, but somehow Christmas washes away the sins of the past. There's special complexity in Christmas, a magic, a spirit of forgiveness, and as an adult, the nostalgia of years lost. I've always been fascinated by this reminder of the slippery loss of childhood innocence that the Christmas season brings. We lose the ability to ever experience the holidays like we did when there was no work to look forward to on Monday, no family drama, no crafty budgeting to desperately demonstrate the worth of loved ones in a wrapped purchase. As youths, we were whisked away to grandmas house where there was nothing to do but be there and eat and accept what was given to us. No responsibilities, no apologies. But as adults, we make do. We craft together a semblance of those days, like junkies looking for a fix. But as adults burdened by our own mistakes and the hurt we carry, Christmas stretches out scarred tissue, pealing away the scabs of the years and leaving our raw hearts prone to memories and regret. And yet, we keep coming back, hoping for a taste of the magic of the past and letting those painful open wounds rub against the people we simultaneously love the most and hurt most deeply.
This is what The Beast of Aberdeen is about. It's a tale of unending familial love. Even when coming home for the holidays hurts, Christmas gives us the strength to continue to say "I love you" from the deep, sleepy caves of adulthood.
A little about this project...
Title: The Beast of Aberdeen
Synopsis: A dark Christmas-time musical about a young woman that returns to her hometown for the holidays as it's stalked by a Big Foot creature. Inspired by the dark whimsy of films like Edward Scissor Hands, Nightmare Before Christmas, Rankin-Bass stop motion specials, and the lore-riddled Pacific Northwest.
Run Time: Approx. 15 minutes
This is my first entry in the production diary for The Beast of Aberdeen (or TBOA). This is the biggest project I've ever produced and I'd scared sh*ttless. We're writing music, creating an elaborate paper puppet sequence, choreographing dances, and creating mythical creatures all based in practical effects. All things I have little to no experience in - woo! Since this is all so unique and exploratory, I figured it might be fun to have a place to share the progress.
So far, my motley crew consists of some of my dear friends and collaborators and continues to *grow.
*I plan to update this list as I build my crew.
Annalise Southwood - Soundtrack She's the composer and lyricist behind our soundtrack. Annalise and I go way back to our high school theatre days. We're currently building the sample tracks and she's making my musical dreams come true.
Jordenn Bailey - Production Design/Art Director
Jordenn is a talented graphic design currently working at Red & Co in Portland. Jordenn and I have worked on many projects together now and I super duper depend on her visual expertise as we build the world of TBOA.
Josh Bailey - Editor
Josh has been there from the beginning of my journey into this crazy art form. He's an amazing director/writer/producer/editor, and even starred in my last film, Lovely Legs (2018). He has edited all of my short films and I deeply trust his artistic and technical skills.
I'm already losing sleep over this thing, so ya'll better like it! ;)
Check back here for updates!