Created by Isaiah Bell and Sean Guist.
The Book of My Shames is a one-man, cabaret-style opera performed with small chamber ensemble. It premiered at Tapestry Opera in Toronto 2019 and has been developed with the support of Opera Kelowna, Pacific Opera Victoria and Intrepid Theatre.
ABOUT THE STORY
This insightful and tender exploration of life’s awkward underbelly is animated by sharp wit and occasionally shocking candor. Charismatic Canadian tenor, writer, and composer Isaiah Bell guides the audience through the permutations of a life defined by what it’s missing — or, as he calls it, ‘The Story of a Hole’. Persistent emptiness of heart drives a young man out from the shadow of a restrictive fundamentalist community, into obsessive passions for bad men, and onward to a successful but strangely hollow life on the stage. The story is both intensely personal and a site for asking one of life’s common, aching questions: How can we find meaning in existence when the goals keep shifting?
ABOUT THE MUSIC
This piece offers a diverse array of original music — chansons and ballads, cleverly touching torch songs, and expansive operatic scenas. Isaiah Bell’s songwriting is modern but lyrical, blending his disarming conversational tone with a sophisticated classical- and cabaret-influenced musical aesthetic. Isaiah’s original score for voice and piano is complemented by violin, cello, and percussion ensemble.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The Book of My Shames combines rapid-fire monologues and personal confessions in a cabaret-style performance. It packs a great deal into 90-minutes: the work moves subtly between moments of monologue and music infused with honesty, pain, charm and humour. With pathos, a wink, and his truly beautiful voice, Isaiah delivers a “comic, wrenching, and personal tour-de-force” that blurs the boundaries of the personal to become about all of us.