When navigating the theater world, one hurdle seems to stander taller — and more intimidating — than others. Feared by critics and avoided at all costs by many thespians, the one-man show is perhaps the most demanding challenge live theater has to offer. But when done right, it can also be one of the most rewarding.
This week, onetime film composer and longtime Santa Barbara resident Brad Fiedel brings Borrowed Time to Center Stage Theater. The production is Fiedel’s first live theater undertaking, which he wrote, scored, and will perform sans personne. Fittingly, the story behind Borrowed Time is Fiedel’s own, a music-filled account of his youth, career, and the personal struggles that came from building a life different from the one he’d envisioned.
“The show is an exploration of my whole journey as a musician,” Fiedel explained from his Montecito home last week. “I had no idea I was going to be a film composer. I was a child of the ’60s. I thought I was going to be a singer/songwriter and change the world with my songs.”
Onstage, the production plays out in a collection of monologues, visual projections, and musical numbers that run the gamut from Fiedel’s first-ever composition to his iconic score for James Cameron’s The Terminator to his abrupt departure from the composing world.
“A few years ago, I made a promise to get up and play the piano for an hour a day,” he recalled of the play’s early stages, “and in doing so I started remembering songs from when I was a teenager, and at the same time I’m thinking about my career and the people who wanted to know what happened to me. I was thinking in a memoir sense, but instead of entries I have songs.”
Call it a concert with a story arc or a diary with a soundtrack — either way, it’s an ambitiously moving piece of theater.
Center Stage Theater hosts the world premiere of Borrowed Time on Thursday, April 25, and Friday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets sales will benefit the Center Stage Renter Scholarship Fund. For tickets and info, call (805) 963-0408 or visit centerstagetheater.org.