Explore the dark side of the American Dream in this new Digital Short.
Alone in the woods, a young man is pursued by a horrifying specter and by visions of his deceased sisters. A meditation on the precarious uncertainty of the American Dream and the role that uncontrollable forces play in our lives, The West is a Land of Infinite Beginnings is inspired by a harrowing scene from the opera Proving Up, by composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek.
Based on a short story by Karen Russell, their opera depicts a 19th-century farming family striving to "prove up" by fulfilling the tough requirements of the Homestead Act to earn the deed to their land. Directed by James Darrah, the new Digital Short visualizes the appearance of the opera's ghostly Sodbuster, a failed homesteader driven mad by his inability to fulfill the Act's most daunting and seemingly arbitrary requirement: obtaining a glass window for his farmhouse. With Mazzoli's deeply unsettling (and strikingly beautiful) score setting the scene, The West is a Land exposes the desperation of hardworking Americans abandoned to their ruin.
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Digital Shorts is a series of new commissions, pairing today's most exciting composers with extraordinary visual artists. Learn more here.
"'Little House on the Prairie' meets 'The Shining'"
"Tense, creepy....Ms. Mazzoli's score, for just a dozen or so players, is a landscape of shimmering aridity."