19 May, 2017

"The Stillness of the Office" from After Anatevka in Concert

Jessica Fontana and Ellie Fishman
"The Stillness of the Office" from AFTER ANATEVKA IN CONCERT at Symphony Space, 2017 based on and read by AFTER ANATEVKA by ALEXANDRA SILBER from Pegasus Books

Music by Juilanne Wick Davis, lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman

Performed by Jessica Fontana (Hodel) and Ellie Fishman (Irina)


Chapter 37: Gone

     Hodel used to find The Gentleman’s office quite peaceful in its near silence—the imposing regulation clock with its harsh utilitarian angles, audibly ticking as if it echoed the sonorous heartbeats of the hutch’s inhabitants. But tonight, as she and Irina worked side by side, the quiet unnerved her. Everything was stillness but for the etching of the fountain pens, the gentle thud of books as they were stacked. A flutter of papers, a drawer closed, a breath. Tonight, the din felt constant. The air was taut with it. Only the drained color in Irina’s face indicated the fretting of her mind; every other gesture maintained her customary efficiency.

THE GENTLEMAN: Irina, the Irkutsk export files, please.  
IRINA: Yes, sir

     Hodel watched the scene as if she were watching it from very far away. She observed The Gentleman in all his flawless machinations: the compulsive starch of his shirts, the shining shirt buttons, the blinding polish of his boots.

[The Gentleman’s voice brings them back to the work at hand:]

THE GENTLEMAN: Hodel—my inkwell is low. Fetch replacement and do be quick about it.
HODEL: Of course, sir.

     [Irina held a bundle of letters, hiding them from view. As the Gentleman left the main office, she thrusts them at Hodel.]

HODEL: I do not work for or with my husband. I know nothing about—
IRINA: They are not for him. They are for you. Letters from your family, Hodel. I thought it time you had them.
IRINA: Officers often intercept personal post—I found them a while back, in the storeroom in the post office. I saw they were addressed to you, so I set them aside. I could have given them to you earlier, but...one never knows how one feels about their family. Especially when one is interred.
HODEL: Thank you. 


  1. Stephanie KMay 19, 2017

    What a thrilling piece of musical theatre, gloriously performed by those women! Is Jessica the wife of Santino Fontana?

    I have never heard of this composition team, and now I'm a HUGE fan!


    1. Aren't they INCREDIBLE?

      Yes, Jessica is the wife of Santino, both very close friends. And Ellie is a recent graduate of University of Michigan (as is Jessica, incidentally!)

      The composition team is truly amazing, and deserve every possible opportunity to shine. This was the highlight of the evening for me--Julianne and Maggie-Kate captured the essence and depth of the relationship and story in a way only music can, and I believe lifted and enhanced my work. Forever a fan myself now as well.

      Thank you for visiting!

  2. Hauntingly beautiful music and story, dear Al!

  3. Stunning.
    Words, Song, performances all around!



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