Tame Your Man
piano, bondage artist, narrator(s), electronics, 30'
Tame Your Man is a ‘living music sculpture’, a theatrical work composed for piano, rope bondage artist, narrator, and electronics. The piece premiered in November 2012 in Boulder, Colorado and has since seen several more performances with the NYC-based group Tenth Intervention. It deals directly with my sexuality as a gay composer, exploring pleasure, surrender, and trust through the power dynamics of the two main performers.
The music for Tame Your Man is comprised of 12 movements that roughly follow the traditional ‘circle of fifths’. Stylistically, militaristic pounding and dance club-like movements open the performance and soon become transformed, ending in a slower, ecstatic meditations. Over the course of the work, the pianist gets progressively more bound to his instrument, and the piano writing purposefully reduces the range of motion of the hands on the keyboard. By the last movement, only the outermost keys can be reached.
Spoken texts written by Mark Mangini:
i. So here I am, here we are. One tie leads to the next, One tie leads to the next.
and once again I am nothing without you.
This physical restriction emphasizes
purity of communication
predicated on trust. Trust.
In this space we transcend ourselves
and our lives and our words.
How many more times do you need to hear
that love is all we need?
ii. And with you, together, I know only of what I feel; that I can express directly
with no intervention, without artifice.
A half dragging the dead weight of the day from place to senseless place–
But here I learn I can breathe again.
I can think/feel/express with
a clarity that makes no sense in the day
to day world.
You put a hand in mine and I believed.
You spoke and I understood.
We know no ambiguity.
We have created a new reality.
iii. It works as a focus.
One note, one point, a concentration.
The dissonance doesn’t resolve; it ceases to be.
“I don’t need you anymore” transitions to “I am you now”.
We are fused in that heat, dependent on the other to breathe,
to feel, to be.
You do not have to chase after me now because I have given myself up to you,
have put myself in you, am bound to you.
We are one focused point in space.