MP3 Jonathan Mann - The Mario Opera: Act One
This is the first act of a rock opera based on the Super Mario Bros. That''s right, the nostalgia laden game that you love(d) so much. It''s all original songs using the Mario music you know and love as a jumping off point. Trust me. You''ve never heard anyt
10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, ELECTRONIC: Experimental
Our opera begins a few months after Mario crawls through that pipe in Brooklyn. As far as Mario’s concerned, he’s just an average plumber who has happened to stumble into a surreal fantasy world filled with Mushroom People, smiling hills, super power flowers, and a beautiful Princess named Peach.
Mario and Princess Peach fall in love. Act One begins at their wedding ceremony in the King’s Court, where the Loyal Mushroom Kingdom Subjects are singing and dancing about how excited they are to see two people so much in love. Peach’s father sings a song about how happy he is to have a young, strong man like Mario take over as King.
The tone shifts suddenly when the elite Koopa Army bursts in and demands to be allowed to take part in the festivities. The Loyal Mushroom Kingdom Subjects object, and an all-out-brawl seems imminent. However, as soon as the first punch is thrown, the entire scene freezes except for Mario, who is left standing completely bewildered by the strange direction things are moving. He notices a rumbling sound, and he looks up to see Bowser, the King of the Koopas, towering over him. Bowser and Mario stare hard at each other. Bowser has a huge advantage over Mario: he knows how everything will turn out. Mario, completely confused, has only an extremely powerful instinct to protect the Princess. Despite this, he’s simply no match for Bowser, and the large spiked Koopa King flings him to the ground. The scene comes back to life, and before we know it, the Koopa Army has destroyed the King’s Court and the Princess has been kidnapped.
Bowser takes Peach to his castle beneath the Toadstool Kingdom. Mario is left alone, in the dark except for a single yellow question-mark-box, glowing and pulsating ten feet above his head. He sings a lament to the darkness, recounting his childhood in Brooklyn. He questions himself and the frightening new situation he’s found himself in.
Slowly, a new scene fades in behind him. The first image (from level 1-1 in the original Super Mario Bros.) appears, with four question mark boxes, a warp pipe, and a Goomba walking towards Mario. The Goomba, a nameless minion of the Koopa Army, has a massive amount of power over Mario, and uses this to taunt him and play on his fears. What’s happened to the Princess? What can he, a simple plumber, do against such a powerful Koopa King? Mario becomes agitated, his temper starts to boil, and before he knows what he’s doing, he jumps on the Goomba’s head, squashing him, killing him in cold blood. When he snaps out of his rage, Mario is devastated. Not only has he murdered this evil yet innocent creature, but the act felt natural and good. It felt right.
This is the moment when Mario first begins to awaken to his existence. He takes off running through the level, jumping, stomping, killing. He sings another song, still confused, but with a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. He intuits the direction things are going, though he’s not sure how he feels about it. He gets to the end of the level and meets Toad, an ally. Toad explains that he knows what Mario needs to do, and can lead him in the right direction. He takes Mario down the pipe at the end of the level, and they enter the next cavernous stage that stretches for miles underground.
Mario begins to recognize things, to remember them. He sees a question mark box, and somehow knows there’s a mushroom in it. Without really understanding why, he eats the mushroom, not being wholly surprised to find that he’s doubled in size. Then he remembers: The Power Mushrooms make you grow. But what about the Power Flowers? He walks a bit further, calling out things before they happen: that Koopa is about to jump, that Goomba will fall from that platform. He approaches another box, one that he knows has a Power Flower in it. He hits the bottom of the box to make the flower appear and then he puts his hands on the stem. He can feel the energy running through him. He is more powerful than he ever imagined. He can shoot fireballs. He’s a towering, fire-shooting killing machine. And it feels good. For the first time, he’s realizing his full potential. This is what he’s meant to do: to save the Princess, to rid the Mushroom Kingdom of evil.
But what about the foresight? Almost as soon as he’s become comfortable in his Hero skin, the weight of his existence starts bearing down on him. As the floodgates of his memory are opened, he remembers all his past lives, trillions and trillions of lives, each one exactly the same. The Princess will always be kidnapped, and Mario will always save her. It is all so scripted, as though someone else is controlling him, as if he has no power over anything he says, or does, or feels. The severe pointlessness of it all becomes unbearable, and Mario collapses. He wants to give up, to lay down and die, but can’t because of some unseen force. When Mario finally reaches the mini-boss, Magikoopa, also known as the Lizard Wizard, he doesn’t have the strength to fight. With one flick of his wand, the Lizard Wizard shoots a barrage of triangles, circles and squares that hit Mario hard, right in the chest. Mario goes flying through the air. He is dead.
Jonathan Mann Writer/Director/Mario
Jonathan Mann is a 23-year-old singer, songwriter, video game enthusiast, nostalgia peddler and rock opera purveyor. He has a bachelors degree in music and recording from Bennington College, where he co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in an original rock opera, The Last Nympho Leprechaun. He has written more than 250 songs.
Jeremy Schwartz Director/Goomba/Bowser
Jeremy Schwartz is an animator, director, musician and Nintendo loyalist. He studied film and digital media at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and is currently working on his masters in experimental animation at the California Institute of the Arts. He has written and directed numerous films and shows, and has served as the managing director of the Iambic Pentameter theater group and the music director for the Porter Theater Group.