Shadow Land (2020) was written for Nick Photinos as a part of the Georgia Run-Off Commissioning Project to support the senate campaigns of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. This work was inspired by Nick’s recent project, Raise, in memory of his mother and dedicated “to the people—parents, mentors, friends—who brought us up and made us who we are.” Raise prompted me to reflect on my own family and childhood, and one of the strongest memories that came to mind was my parents’ method of chasing away nightmares whenever my sister or I would wake up in the middle of the night. The rule was if you recounted your dream out loud, it would scare away the monsters; if you named it, it no longer had power over you. I realize now that this was the manner in which my parents first taught me how to face my fears, and—although seemingly insurmountable to-do lists are not exactly the same as monsters—naming my fears has served me well over the years. Shadow Land is a musical re-telling of one of child-Gala’s nightmares, chased away in the end (after the monster under the bed puts up a bit of a fight).
Commissioned by Nick Photinos, as part of the Georgia Run-Off Commissioning Project