A psychodrama musical by Michael Bitterman
THE CELLAR deals with people who are into role-playing, psychodrama-the acting out of themselves in other roles-slipping from fantasy into reality. It is meant to be taken seriously and great care must be taken by the director to treat the subject with honesty and sincerity. These people drift in and out of reality at will-in the cellar of their minds lie a room where they can play these fantasies out-these people are harmless-to themselves and to everyone else. These people don't feel comfortable with who they are. Not only does society frown on these people but so does the law.
THE CELLAR opens with Julia confronting the audience with her fetish, which is tickling, by showing us exactly what it is that turns her on as we see a woman being tickled. We then see and meet the group-Max, Julia, Stu, Nina and Harold in the PROLOGUE where we see and hear their individual fantasies for the first time. They hold nothing back in this introduction. We also learn that they all feel secure in their own cellar. From here we are transported to group therapy where we meet their therapist, Thea, and in TOUCHING OUR FEELINGS, the group tries to explain their frustration in trying to understand their problem. In WANTED we hear loud and clear their impulsive wants. We then isolate on them individually starting with Stu as he explains how he feels with cross dressing with WHEN I PUT ON MY TEDDY. In FEATHERS we hear Julias obsession with tickling. When Thea asks Max what happened to him as a child, Max can't explain but we see him at home in I'LL CALL YOU CLAUDIA.In the middle of the song he tells Thea and the group his answer and then he continues his fantasy at home.
When Thea puts the group into a group hypnosis, we see and hear A QUINTET OF CATHARTIC CHARACTERS in which each of them are young again and we hear of a particular incident that happened to them at this early age. We also learn that these were Warm and Wonderful and Safe and Secure feelings for them. Thea brings them out of hypnosis and then when Nina is asked about her feelings of dominance we see her come to life as MISTRESS FLORA. When Max is asked about the relationship with his father he can only explain what he wished his father had said to him in I'M SO PROUD OF YOU. We then see Harolds fantasy as an adult baby come to life in AUNT MINA'S NURS'RY SCHOOL.
Through their own discussions in group with Thea, the group finally realizes that their past is the reason they are what they are in THE PAST IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU and there's no reason to feel guilty about it. At the end of this song, A cop bursts in and arrests Max for looking at a young girl in a supermarket and writing about her at home. The cop also sees a picture of a young boy with his clothes off in a bath. This is Max's son but Max, nonetheless, has broken the law by having a picture of a nude child and as he looks at the picture of his son he is telling his son I'M SO PROUD OF YOU. Max is taken to court and in the CONVICTION he is beaten to the ground mentally and wonders how he'll tell his son. Back at the group, Thea explains there's no reason to feel guilty as everyone is strange in their own way and doesn't that make life a little more exciting? The 5 characters imagine themselves in a world where they can be who they want without fear or guilt in SOMEDAY and finally realize that taking away this part of them would be taking away a part of who they are and that it's ok to, once in a while, escape to the Cellar.
THE CELLAR is copyrighted 1997 by Michael Bitterman
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