Hero stands before us as a beautiful, well-put together woman in her mid twenties. She is very well spoken and warm when connecting with the audience about her life. She is a conductor. Her love for music goes back to her mother who introduced her to classical music when she was still in the womb but it made all the difference. When she was young she witnessed her mother express her passion for music and express that when played correctly music was like poetry, in it’s finest form. Her passion for music stayed with Hero her entire life, as did the demons that afflicted her mother, or did they? As Hero continues to share her life with us we begin to question if it is true or if it is fiction. Did she really go to college? Was she really the first woman to conduct the New York Symphony? Was any of this real or just a piece of her imagination that she captured from her mother? As the story unfolds we learn that Hero’s mother died as a result of her fight with paranoid schizophrenia. Hero has moments in the performance when she sees even speaks to other people who are not present to us. Even though the symptoms are there is her success as a conductor, her memory of her childhood and her present life, is it as real to us as it is for her? Is it possible to be sick with something as debilitating as paranoid schizophrenia and still stand tall at the podium and make music? As Hero conducts the passion is real. As she speaks her life is real. As she connects with the audience the story is real. But when someone is sick does truth bleed into fantasy so strongly that everyone involved is questioning, “What is real?” It is a beautiful story that makes Hero wonder if she’s sick at all or if she’s just a brilliant musician, creating poetry through music. It is quite glorious.
- (Scene opens with Hero, a woman in her mid twenties stands in front of the audience. She prepares to turn on a musical selection, opens a music book, places it on a stand and picks up her conductors baton and the music begins. Her focus is electrifying; she works the music, turns pages and feels every moment of this selection. The selection nears the end; she has a few dramatic moments, lands the ending and closes the book. She is confident in the work she has done. To audience.) My mother was twenty-one when she had me. My grandmother thought that she was absolutely crazy when I came out and my mother decided to name me “Hero.” (Smiles) It wasn't because she held me in your arms and thought that her little girl would save the world, no it was because the great William Shakespeare wrote a play called “Much Ado About Nothing” and in the play there was a character named Hero. In the play she is a gentle, sweet and loving girl. (Beat) What a great beginning. My mother thought that she could do anything and therefore I can do anything. She was an absolutely beautiful woman and one would think that her life would have been written on the tree scribes of William Shakespeare himself, that Act 5 Scene IV would have been when Hero’s mother found her love, her laugh, her…joy but only in a play, never in real life. She could have had it all: any man she wanted, any jobs she wanted, anything she could have imagined living at the tips of her fingers. (She picks up her baton again and examines it.) From the melodic lines of Shakespeare to Beethoven’s Symphony 5 in C Minor my uneducated mother had the mind of…well a genius. (Beat) No one knew how she got it, nor did they understand how the girl who dropped out of school in the ninth grade was able to understand music the way that she did. (Smile) My grandmother didn't know how right she was when she jokingly called my mother “crazy.” As the saying goes I guess we’re all a little crazy.