musicals: The Postman and the Poet
The Postman and the Poet
(book & lyrics)
Based on the novel Ardiente Paciencia by Antonio Skarmeta.
Book by Trevor Bentham and Eden Phillips.
Music by Michael Jeffrey.
Lyrics by Eden Phillips. Produced by John Yap.
Performed and recorded before invited audiences at Angel Studios, Islington, London 27th – 28th June 2011.
The concept album of a new musical, based on Antonio Skarmeta's Ardiente Paciencia, the novel that inspired the
film Il Postino.
The music is wonderful and the singing is fantastic. If you like an Evita/West Side Story flavor you will like this one.
The poet Pablo Neruda teaches his postman Mario to woo the beautiful Beatriz in verse. Romance, comedy and – ultimately – tragedy follow
Cosme the postmaster introduces us to the small Chilean world of Isla Negra and persuades work-shy Mario to be Neruda's postman. Mario falls instantly in love with Beatriz when she returns from a trip. He gradually endears himself to Neruda and his wife Matilde. Labbe, the right wing politico, takes a fancy to Beatriz and gives Mario a notebook, ostensibly to write poems in.
Neruda teaches Mario the power of poetry and he applies it – successfully – in wooing Beatriz. Her mother Rosa is horrified and discovers Mario has plagiarized Neruda's verses to win Beatriz's love. Cosme and Labbe start their
electioneering on behalf of Allende and Alessandri respectively.
The cast are all musically excellent and I really wish I could be watching it live on stage.
Nick Wakeham, Musical Theatre Review
With Neruda's help Marxist Allende has won the 1970 election. Labbe apart, Isla Negra celebrates victory. Rosa catches Mario and Beatriz making love and forces them to marry, and then to work in her café, now benefiting from the short-lived economic boom. Jealousy soon sours the newlyweds' love, and when Labbe makes a pass at Beatriz,
Mario attempts to knife him. As the couple become reconciled, Neruda, appointed Chilean ambassador to France and homesick, asks them to record the sounds of Isla Negra.
Aided by Labbe, Pinochet's soldiers seize power. Ignoring the pregnant Beatriz's pleas, Mario takes telegrams from Cosme to Neruda, now ill and returned to the village. To avenge himself, Labbe kills Cosme and arrests Mario, who has naively described himself in his notebook as a communist. Rosa realizes that Mario will die in jail and she and Beatriz move on in the hope of a better life for Beatriz's child.