During the COVID-19 health crisis of 2020, a self-care and meditation class that has recently moved online finds their quest for calm and inner-peace thrown into chaos by noisy pets, slow internet connections, family dramas, and, of course, murder hornets. As they struggle to come to terms with their "new normal," a secret is revealed that risks giving them exactly what they're asking for.
The sounds of the pre-COVID-19 world play loudly in our ears and almost immediately begin to dissipate. As they fade to a drone and a pure tone, the instructor of a class on self-care techniques and meditation, Minka, logs into a popular video conferencing app in order to teach a class that has recently moved from meeting in-person to meeting online.
Minka and her students (Rhyn, Trevor, and Googie) sing “The Mantra of the Wind” while being interrupted by persistent connection glitches from Minka’s less-than-ideal internet connection.
We hear a dog bark, and as Minka looks off-screen to see if someone else in her household can handle this chore, Googie, who has a baby on his lap, inquires of his fellow classmates where another member of the class might be. There is some gentle cacophony in all of these interactions as they overlap each other, until Minka summons everyone back together for “The Mantra of the Waters.”
The individual frustrations of each student begin to boil over as each of the calmly repeated verses give way to a heavy metal refrain in which the students reveal some of the stresses and burdens they’re bearing during lockdown.
The dogs are barking again, so Minka excuses herself and leaves Rhyn, Trevor, and Googie together to wonder how bad things will get in this pandemic (“What If?”). Upon her return, MINKA tries to redirect the class to a safe and open space with “The Mantra of the Wind (Reprise)”, but it’s too late: a “Quarantine Fugue” sees Rhyn, Trevor, and Googie concurrently release a stream of consciousness airing of grievances that preview their need to “let it all out.”
Minka’s pedagogical tactic shifts to creating a space for the students to individually delve deeper into what’s bothering them, but before she can even finish introducing the topic, Googie chimes in (“Googie Lets It All Out”) and tells about the anger he’s experiencing watching the news and how he deals with this anger. The Doug, the classmate Googie asked about at the top of the show, signs on as Googie is finishing and as Trevor begins to sing. The Doug waves at the group but keeps himself muted as he watches the class for entertainment.
Trevor resents the growing indecision of the society around them and resolves to make their voice heard in the upcoming election (“Trevor Lets It All Out”). Rhyn then takes a turn (“Rhyn Lets It All Out”) and reveals more about the outrage and dramas happening as her family is quarantined together in tight quarters. The Doug is no longer entertained and leaves the group as the students begin to sing a mocking version of “The Mantra of the Wind (2nd Reprise)” with rising anger, until Minka abruptly calls for the noise to stop.
Minka, with great self-control, reflects that she hears all the anger and frustration that Rhyn, Trevor, and Googie have let out. Feeling heard, the students become more receptive to what comes next as Minka describes “The Simple Secret” that, if able to be applied, has the power to help both individuals and the world through these changing times.
With this newfound yet ancient knowledge in mind, the students are in good spirits and sign off as Minka imitates another technical glitch. Before Minka signs off, she looks directly at the camera in an acknowledgement of the audience that’s watching. She then turns to face the sounds of the post-COVID-19 world with an inhale. As the sounds crescendo to their zenith, we cut to black, and the last sound we hear is Minka’s exhale.
It gives me so much hope for the future of theatre — a breath of fresh air!
The music has an edgy, urban-neurotic energy, but enough variety to cap things off with a gospel-tinged aria.
Minka – Soprano (Range B3 to F#5). Woman of Color. Over 40. The instructor. Films at home against a calming (non-virtual) background.
Rhyn – Alto (Range G3 to D5). Woman. Any race or ethnicity. Over 30. A student in the class and a mom. Films in portrait mode while sitting in her parked car.
Trevor – Countertenor (Range F#3 to B4). Non-binary. Any race or ethnicity. Over 20. A student in the class. Films at home.
Googie – Bari-Tenor (Range F2 to G#4). Male. Any race or ethnicity. Over 40. A student in the class and the father of a baby. Films at home.
The Doug! – Non-singing/speaking role. White Male. Over 30. Student in the class. Reminiscent of “The Dude.” THC proficient. Films at home.
Setting: On a video conferencing app during the 2020 Coronavirus quarantine.
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The required materials for LAG: A ZOOMSICAL include:
Orchestrations (if musical):