Delusion Of The Fury: A Ritual Of Dream And Delusion (1971)
Directed by Madeline Tourtelot. Edited by Les Blank
Harry Partch’s major theater work in two acts, based on the UCLA production of 1969 with Choreographer: Storie Crawford. Set designer: John Crawford, Musical Director: Danlee Mitchell
Act I a tragedy based on an eleventh century Japanese Noh tale. Act II is based on an a farcical African folk story.
Color. 75 minutes.
Delusion of the Fury is a stage play by the American composer Harry Partch. The first draft for a new theater work for singers, mimes, dancers, and musicians, Cry from Another Darkness, was completed by Partch on December 30, 1964, and the second draft, dated January 17, 1965, was a fuller, longer, re-titled Delusion of the Fury. The work was originally conceived as a play in two acts, with a dramatic first act and a comedic second. Partch completed writing of the music on March 17, 1966. The piece employs Partch's original system of micro-tonality, and was written for the largest assembly of his custom-made instruments used in any of his works. The instruments were an important part of the stage set. Delusion of The Fury was premiered at the UCLA Playhouse on January 9, 1969, where it was recorded for Columbia Records. This remained the only performance of the piece until it was re-staged in 2007 by the Japan Society in New York.
Act I is based on the Japanese Noh drama Atsumori, which tells the story of a warrior who has been slain in battle. The one who killed the warrior has traveled in remorse to the scene of the murder, so that he may repent. The dead warrior reappears as a ghost to the man. Then his son enters, searching in the belief that he may see a vision of his deceased father. The ghost-father is filled with resentment and lives again through the ordeal of the battle of his death. Eventually, faced with the uselessness of his anger, he seeks reconciliation with both his son and the slayer.
Act II is based on an Ethiopian folk tale, "Justice". The story is as follows: a young man is preparing a meal over a fire when an old goatherder approaches, searching for a lost kid. She asks the man if he has seen the kid. The man is deaf, does not understand the question, and subsequently gestures the old woman away. She misunderstands this as direction towards the location of the lost kid, wanders off, and finds it, and returns to offer thanks. Upon her return, the man grows angry and belligerent for being disturbed a second time, and a crowd gathers. The villagers force the two to consult with the Justice of the Peace, who is both deaf and myopic. In yet another misunderstanding, the judge takes the quarrel as a marital dispute, and orders the two to go home together with their 'child'.
These stories illustrate the overarching theme of Delusion of the Fury: the delusory nature and futility of human anger, with the second including a critique of communal justice. Delusion of the Fury thus brings together tragedy and farce into one work, reminiscent of the ancient Greek tradition of following a tragedy with a satyr play. Partch, who faced injustice and rejection from the society in which he worked and lived, may have offered this work as a gesture of self-admonishment, a way of confronting his own anger towards his world. Danlee Mitchell claimed that Delusion of the Fury was "Harry's reconciliation with the world."
All songs written and composed by Harry Partch.
||"Exordium: The Beginning Of a Web"
||"Chorus of Shadows"
||"The Pilgrmage [sic?]"
||"Emergence of the Spirit"
||"A Son in Search of His Father's Face"
||"Cry From Another Darkness"
||"Pray For Me"
||"Sanctus: An Entr'acte"
||"The Quiet Hobo Meal"
||"The Lost Kid"
||"Time of Fun Together"
||"Arrest, Trial, and Judgement (Joy in the Marketplace)"
||"Pray For Me Again- A Strange Fear!"