There are no two ways about it, the divided self is a truth that we have not been able to escape from for over a century now. Freud and the Viennese psychoanalytical school turned it neatly into a mirrored maze of hide and seek. Our ego lies to our id and both of them lie to the world at large. As a result, we are left not happy about it – or anything else.
The twins Heracles and Iphicles are perhaps the nearest to a case study you can find in Greek myth exploring this dichotomy: the one as other side of the other. Heracles, the flamboyant hero of world-shattering strength; Iphicles, the eternal loser. And so it has proved. Everyone has heard of the strong, fearless, arrogant warrior and almost no one knows about, or writes about, or cares about his quieter, far smarter twin brother.
The Twin Trials of Heracles, the last of our four monodramas, was always intended to be a bravura piece for a Bass-Baritone soloist, and provide a grand finale to our tetralogy. The singer-actor taking this on is presented with a Herculean challenge. Our purpose in creating these Modern Myths was that neither music nor drama ruled over the other but both were interwoven into a whole beyond detection or definition. They were created as pieces that could be toured around small venues anywhere as fleshed-out recitals, or given full productions, set and costumes, on main stages. The greater challenge here is one of acting, by which we both mean acting with the voice as much as with the mind and the body. The soloist must split himself in half to play two characters, or maybe play one character that is itself split in half. To achieve this he must also be able to divide his voice into two. Bass. Baritone. Yet so much subtler than that.
Legend/Man. Monster/Shadow. Celebrity/Nonentity. Übermensch/Underling. Positive/Negative. Bass/Baritone. To make matters worse, perhaps it is never really clear which is which. The performer must flit from one to the other with bewildering dexterity and take us on a journey that is both mythically large and psychologically small-scale – often at one and the same time. The sense of who is who should never be fully solved or resolved.
We hope there will be a few intrepid souls who will relish this double challenge.