Clear Away: A Fisherman's Farewell
Photos by Thomas
Nola-Rion (B&W) and Frank Molinsky (Color)
Clips are approximately one minute each.
The ensuing sadness of the story is then foreshadowed by the lead vocalist [MP3 download: Flame without end - v.1 (952 K)] leading into a haunting dance of the Sea Spirits.
Next, all the townsfolk gather to dance the night before the fishermen are to depart for Georges Bank. [MP3 download: Fisherfolks' Reel (948 K)]
Dancers Carl Thomsen & Anna Shoub
Dancer Patricia Kane
The next scene opens on The Fisherman and his daughter, skipping stones and playing together. Women, children and fishermen then process to the pier, where the chorus sings them a farewell round. [MP3 download: Kind Be the Wind (956 K)] The Fisherman and Wife exchange tokens, bandanas they each tie around the other's neck. No sooner has their vessel passed from sight do the women busy themselves with chores, pausing with apprehension to sense each change in the wind.
Over a song about yearning for a mariner's return, we are then given a look at the inner world of the Flirtatious Woman (from the dance scene), as she attempts to keep painful memories at bay by busying herself. [MP3 download: Gloucester Wife (680 K)] The exact nature of her loss we can only guess. The Wife happens upon her. Showing the vulnerability thus far kept hidden, the Flirtatious Woman reaches out to the Wife, but the latter shuns her.
The first half of Clear Away concludes with a story related to the daughter, by her Grandmother, of an old man who would die before giving up his boat. [MP3 download: Lovell(836 K)] A song gives voice to his memories as a schooner skipper. [MP3 download: Sailing Home(608 K)]
|Beginning the second
half, a solo Sea Spirit conjures the elements, asserting her power
over the fishermen. We find the men at sea, where their becalmed
vessel is suddenly overtaken by a gale. The Fisherman volunteers
to lash himself to the wheel, and keep the schooner pointed into
the waves, while the others seek safety below deck.
Meanwhile, The Wife lights a candle in the window of their cottage and tries to calm herself. Another dancer, her "Inner Woman", gives voice to turmoil The Wife attempts to conceal.
Back on deck,
the fisherman struggles against the rising seas. At one point,
he is nearly washed overboard while trying to retrieve the the
bandana The Wife gave to him. [MP3
(880 K)] The
next sea that envelops the deck is even more powerful,
however, and he has no choice but to be swept away with it.
|The schooner approaches the harbor. Rounding Eastern point, the crew makes a virtuosic three-point landing under full sail, a spectacle to befit the lost man.||
greet their men, The Wife has her worst premonitions confirmed;
the skipper hands her The Fisherman's duffle bag. She is reduced
to a state of distraction, despondent to her daughter. [MP3
without End (1.2 MB)]
Dancers Anna Shoub & Molly Booth
Dancers Anna Shoub & Juliana McGovern
The Grandmother steps forward with the message that life must go on, that she should be looking to her little girl.
The Flirtatious Woman approaches The Wife; they finally understand and open to each other. The townsfolk circle The Wife and daughter
Together, they send blessings to all the men who have not returned. [MP3 download: On the Banks (904 K)]
-- Jeffry Steele
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