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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $1 USD  or more

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    This album of songs from the new musical "The Fourth Messenger" stars Vienna Teng as Mama Sid, a world-renowned spiritual teacher with a hidden past. Loosely inspired by the Buddha legend, this contemporary re-imagining poses the question of whether and how it's possible to be both enlightened and flawed.

    This pre-order package includes a physical CD and a digital download, to be released November 7, 2015.

    Music by Vienna Teng, lyrics by Tanya Shaffer and Vienna Teng, directed by Matt August, orchestrated/music directed by Ryan O'Connell.

    "An absolute delight." - SF Chronicle • "Profound and profane, combative and compassionate… Teng’s complex harmonies and inspired melodies stick with you long after the curtain goes down." - Art Animal • "Hugely ambitious and refreshingly original…Teng is a fresh and exciting new theatrical talent with a distinctive voice of her own…" - Huffington Post • "Masterful and compelling…both timeless and contemporary." - Stage and Cinema

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Fourth Messenger, featuring Vienna Teng via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ... more
    ships out within 7 days

      $15 USD or more 

     

about

This song takes place in flashback, on the night of Sid's eighteenth birthday, when she leaves her sheltered enclave of Bois Riche for the first time and goes to the city. That night she encounters the first three messengers - sickness, aging, and death.

lyrics

SLEAZY MAN
Hey lady, sweet lady, hey where you headed to?

DRUNKEN MAN
Hey kiddos, wait kiddos, I think I remember you

RECENTLY UNEMPLOYED MAN
Hey buddy wanna score some crystal?

HOMELESS WOMAN
I just need a place to squat

SCARED WOMAN
My man is raging and he’s got a pistol

SLEAZY MAN
Hey girl, you’re lookin’ hot!
Can I have your number?

RECENTLY UNEMPLOYED MAN
Won’t you cut me a break?

HOMELESS WOMAN
I just need a hot meal

SCARED WOMAN
Oh please keep me safe

RECENTLY UNEMPLOYED MAN
Some money for train fare

DRUNKEN MAN
Money for beer

SLEAZY MAN
Can I have your number?

MEN
Just blow in my ear.

ALL
You wanted the real thing
The real thing
The sharp sting
You’re craving the hard dark flavor
Of what life is
I’ll show you the real thing
The real thing
The real thing
The harsh fling
I’ll give you a wake-up smack
And you’ll start to live
Just look at me
Just look at me

(The crowd parts to reveal DELILAH, a drag queen, dressed in layers of ragged lace and beads. She looks emaciated and very sick, with sores in plain view. The others give her a wide berth. She is lit in a luminous way, to indicate that she is the first messenger.)

DELILAH
Just look at me
In my face you will see
Brutal reality

(DELILAH coughs.)
SID
You're sick.

DELILAH
Yes. And you are?

SID
Sid. Sidney. Sidney Arthur.

DELILAH
Pleasure to meet you, Miss Sid Arthur. I’m Delilah.

Back when I ran this city
They called me “Empress D”
Little girl you’re so pretty
You remind me of me
Back when I was a sweet thing
The belle of the ball
Boys and girls, queens, kings
I dazzled them all.

But now you see that my youth has
Been nipped in the bud
By this ruthless intruder
Invading my blood
Devouring my muscles
Consuming my bones
Leaving only the memories
Of all that I’ve known

SID
Is there anything that I can do for you?


DELILAH
Are you God? If you are, there’s a thing or two.
Startin’ out with a fat shot of morphine for the pain
Then you can add a clean pair of lungs and
Kindly vanquish the chills and the runs and
While you’re at it, can you sharpen up my brain?

(DELILAH collapses in a fit of coughing)

DELILAH (CONT’D)
So are you God?

SID
No, I am not.

DELILAH
Then you can’t help
Me or anyone else,
No, not even yourself.

(SID stares. The crowd closes in
around her.)

ALL
You wanted the real thing
The real thing
The sharp sting
You’re craving the jagged edges of
What life is
Well this is the real thing
The real thing
The deep spring
This is the moment when you
Begin to live

(HAG, an old woman, hobbles onto the stage, carrying bags of groceries.)

HAG
Hag coming through
Hag coming through
Out of my way
Out of my way
Or inhale the bouquet
Of my new pepper spray!

(Homeless people part to reveal SID and YASHA.)

HAG (CONT’D)
Well lookie here.

A coupla freshly minted swells from
Bois Riche, Bois Riche
Bois Riche, Bois Riche

SID
How’d you know?

HAG
Sneaking out while daddy’s snoozing
for hanky panky, smokes and boozing

SID
No!

HAG
Now don’t play the innocent with me.

(Sid stares.)

HAG (CONT’D)
Just close up that gaping squeak-hole
Don’t stare at me like i’m a freak
Or do i divine this is the first time
that you’ve ever seen an antique?

SID
Of course I’ve seen old people before.

HAG
Those face-lifted, botoxed fifty-year-olds in Bois Riche?

SID
Some of them are fifty-five, I think.

HAG
Ha!

This jowly face and flabby belly
Breath that reeks of rot and mold
Veiny legs and tits like jelly
This is what it means to be old.

And believe me, it feels as bad as it looks.

Aching back, swollen feet, and a frozen knee
Failing eyes, failing ears, fading memory
Hard to sleep, hard to pee, and libido is a joke

Add to the pain and humiliation
The booby prize for this drawn-out staycation:
Is watching all your friends and family croak.

See what you have to look forward to?

(She exits. Homeless people close in.)

ALL
You ran from your mansion
In search of the real
For one night to slum it
And learn how it feels
To make eyes at danger
To flirt with the knife
To move to the muscular rhythms of life
You came for the real thing
And now that you've found it
You want to escape but
You find you're surrounded
You're starting to feel like
You're under attack
But once you have gone there
There's no turning back
(Scene shifts to Bois Riche. SUNNY lies on the floor,
a paramedic covering him with a sheet. SID and
YASHA enter.)

SID
What...Dad?! What happened?

PARAMEDIC
Heart attack. I’m sorry, Miss. He’s dead.

SID
No! Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.

(The people SID met in the city appear around the periphery, creating a psychological backdrop to the action.)

ALL
You wanted the real thing
The real thing

HAG AND DELILAH
Four messengers

ALL
This is what life is
The real thing
The real thing

HAG AND DELILAH
Four messengers
ALL
This is what life is
This is the path
This is the path
This is the path
And there’s no turning back.

credits

from The Fourth Messenger, featuring Vienna Teng, released November 10, 2015
Music by Vienna Teng
Lyrics by Tanya Shaffer and Vienna Teng
Directed by Matt August
Music Directed and Orchestrated by Ryan O'Connell

SID: Vienna Teng
DELILAH: Reggie D. White
HAG: Cathleen Riddley
SLEAZY MAN: Ira Marlowe
ENSEMBLE: Chris Aceves, Barnaby James, Maria Mikheyenko, Annemaria Rajala, Leandra Ramm, Ashley Simms

Piano and keyboards: Ryan O'Connell
Violin: Anthony Blea
Cello: Freya Seeburger
Drums: Ken Bergmann

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