ENERGIE - the new musical project
by Mark Baughman
Energie grew out of a couple of things I was thinking about over the last year or so. The first was how Anthony Bordain’s suicide seemed to have touched so many people so deeply. We hear of celebrities killing themselves so often we almost expect it, but for some reason this hit somewhere else. He was unpretentious and had his faults and wrestled with his demons, which he fully acknowledged without apology. On one hand we were mad at him for giving up on himself when we didn’t. On the other hand, I think we all kind of understood and wished him well wherever we think he was headed.
The other event was a story an old college friend told me about his autistic son and how, when the boy was about 13, he started to go into a dark shell. Craig and Donna were out of their minds trying to get their son back. One day Craig was fussing with a guitar that I left with him nearly 40 years ago when I finished architecture school and moved east. Though Craig can’t really play, the sound he was making broke through to Alan and he came back. After I stopped crying from reading Craig’s e-mail about that guitar, I thought about how we are all transformers. We take energy and convert it. J.B. Jackson wrote eloquently about this in his essay “The Westward Moving House,” and for some reason that essay came back to me 30 years later. A bunch of sticks, wires and plywood come out of a corner and make noise and lives are profoundly changed - including mine, and everyone who comes in contact with me. That energy doesn’t dissipate.
I always thought energy was an electromagnetic phenomenon, but it’s not. It is metaphysical and in its purest form it is that thing that drives us all even though we don’t understand it - love. Don’t believe me? I think you do.
Energie is the story of Nikolai, a theoretical physicist who has discovered a way to create energy with virtually no cost or damage to the environment. Nikolai’s companion Larkin is also a theoretical physicist who is doing work on String Theory and the idea of multiple dimensions that we can’t see, but Larkin has an impediment where she can only seem to communicate using one part of her brain, using formulas as language instead of words. In fact, Larkin is living in two dimensions at once.
Humphrey Repton is the media-savvy head of the newly created Boston University Center for Advanced Physics and Humphrey recruits Nikolai, Larkin and others to do cutting edge scientific work under his auspices. When Repton learns of Nikolai’s discovery, he presents Nikolai to the world as his protege, and claims some of the credit along with it. While Humphrey is setting up the testing to prove Nikolai’s discovery is real, Nikolai gets tricked by a reporter into calling out Humphrey as a phony media-hound.
Hurt and betrayed, Humphrey falls into the arms of a group of oil, gas, utility, and green energy leaders who know that Nikolai’s discovery will mean the end of their industries and wealth. Humphrey becomes their agent, carefully working to sabotage the testing of Nikolai’s discovery. But Larkin, who is generally ignored because of her peculiar social skills, has realized that the test that will prove Nikolai’s theory can also bring her fully to one dimension.
The big test was set up to fail, but in a climatic scene Larkin is able to hijack the machinery and both bring herself to our dimension and prove Nikolai’s discovery.
The songs and script are written and going through the vetting and recording process. Here’s some of the songs that have been completed: