“All the Impossibility”

 

“All the Impossibility” © 2020 lyrics by Mark Evan Chimsky and music by Zev Burrows
Translation book and lyrics by Mark Evan Chimsky and music by Zev Burrows
SONG SETUP
Kalonymus ben Kalonymus, is a fourteenth-century Jewish poet and translator who was celebrated for his prolific work.
 
However, in his mid-thirties he wrote a poem that shocked and confused his friends, a poem in which he expressed his desire to live as a woman.
 
As he relives his past, we see how Kalonymus’s poetic cry from the heart is treated by his friends as a work of satire—some scold, others humor him: Why would a man ask God to let him live as a woman if not in jest?
 
Misunderstood and lashing out at God, Kalonymus sings the song “All the Impossibility”—though he strives to serve God, he wonders why he is condemned to live in the wrong body.
 
 
SINGER ALEXANDER EVANS
We were excited to work on this song with the incredibly talented Alexander Evans, who brought passion and sensitivity—and a gifted singing voice to his interpretation.
 

Alexander’s West End credits include: Carousel, Dessa Rose, Masterclass, Sunset Boulevard. UK and European tours include: The Sound of Music, The Secret Garden, Titanic, Chess, The Songbook of Judy Garland, Aspects of Love. Regional theatre includes: A Little Night Music, Ragtime, Do I Hear A Waltz, Hair! Film and television includes: The Sound of Music Live, The Young Victoria, The Oxford Murders, The Paul O’Grady Show, Popstar to Operastar, Any Dream Will Do. He is also a Pilates instructor and owner of VoiceGym and regularly presents at Body Control Pilates Central TV.

Instagram: @thepilatestenor

 
TRANSLATION SYNOPSIS

A mysterious blind Translator ushers five figures from history into a bare “waiting room” in the afterlife.

They include those who lived according to their gender identity as well as those who were not able to do so fully.

The Translator asks them to introduce themselves: Kalonymus, a celebrated male poet and translator from fourteenth-century Italy; Joan of Arc, the saint who led an army and was burned at the stake for heresy in the fifteenth century; Sam Gilbourne, the boy actor who triumphed in women’s roles in Shakespeare’s plays in the sixteenth century; Albert Cashier, born Jennie Hodgers, who fought as a man in the Civil War; and Mary Jones, born Peter Sewalley, who was a proud Black prostitute in the nineteenth century.

The five characters confront their past—the painful times when they doubted themselves or were disbelieved or persecuted by others in their lives, all played by the Translator.

As they share their stories they unexpectedly find they share the same feelings and experiences about gender identity as the others who wait with them.  In the end, the Translator—who is revealed to be Tiresias, the blind prophet of Greek mythology who lived as both a man and a woman—announces that they will all be “translated” into new lives on Earth, born into the bodies of the gender they always knew themselves to be.

As they leave the waiting room, they do so changed, a community looking forward to “the life to come.”

 

CHARACTER BREAKDOWN FOR TRANSLATION

Translator – An aged individual from the ancient past. Visually impaired, the Translator wears sunglasses.  Throughout the musical, the Translator plays a variety of characters representing the male patriarchy. Baritone.

Kalonymus ben Kalonymus – A bearded male in his early forties, wearing fine clothes from the fourteenth century. High baritone/tenor.

Mary Jones (born Peter Sewalley) – A flamboyant, Black transgender female in nineteenth-century dress and with a wig. Mezzo soprano.

Albert Cashier (born Jennie Hodgers) – A shy transgender male in hardscrabble nineteenth-century men’s clothes. Baritone.

Joan of Arc – A bold, gender-fluid person of nineteen with hair cut short and in plain men’s attire from the fifteenth century. Low alto.

Sam Gilbourne – A gender-fluid person in their early twenties, in seventeenth-century men’s attire. High baritone/tenor.

 
 
 
 

“All the Impossibility” Lyrics

 

TRANSLATOR

(Sings)

TELL ME THIS, MAESTRO CALO—

IN AN AGE WHEN EVERY SAGE ON EARTH

SAID THAT WOMEN HAD NO WORTH BUT TO PROCREATE

YOU ASKED TO BE A WOMAN TO FULFILL YOUR FATE?

 

KALONYMUS

(Speaks)

Yes, I questioned why I must live as a man.

(Sings)

GOD, YOU WHO HAVE DONE MIRACLES

TRANSFORMED A STAFF INTO A SNAKE,

CAN’T YOU REVERSE WHAT YOU HAVE PLANNED

REDEEM THIS MISTAKE?

 

LET ME LIVE AS A WOMAN

IN EVERY ASPECT AND ALL WAYS

PERFORM A WOMAN’S DUTIES

AS I LIVE OUT MY DAYS…

 

IS THERE NO ANSWER TO MY PLEA?

IS SILENCE YOUR DEMAND?

IS OBEDIENCE ALL YOU WANT OF ME?

I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

 

WEEP FOR WHAT WILL NEVER BE

ALL THE IMPOSSIBILITY

A PAIN FOR WHICH THERE IS NO CURE

HEAR MY CRY — HOW CAN I ENDURE?

 

IF YOU REFUSE TO LET ME LIVE

IN A WAY THAT’S TRUE

MUST I DENY THE SOUL

THAT CAME FROM YOU?

 

SHALL YOUR WILL NOT BE PLIABLE

A DENIAL UNDENIABLE

WHY WON’T YOU ERASE FROM ME

THIS MERCILESS DEFORMITY?

 

WEEP FOR WHAT WILL NEVER BE

ALL THE IMPOSSIBILITY

A PAIN FOR WHICH THERE IS NO CURE

HEAR MY CRY — HOW CAN I ENDURE?

 

IS THERE NO COMFORT TO BE FOUND

UNTIL I’M BURIED IN THE GROUND?

THOUGH I AM UNFIT TO QUESTION

YOUR MYSTERIOUS WAYS.

I WILL SERVE YOU, SERVE YOU, SERVE YOU

FOR THE REST OF MY DAYS.

 

BLESSED BE TO GOD

TO WHOM ALL PRAISE IS DUE

BLESSED BE THE HOLY ONE

I WILL SUBMIT TO YOU

BLESSED BE TO GOD

WHO DESERVES ALL THE PRAISE…

BLESSED BE YOUR MYSTERIOUS WAYS…

 

WEEP FOR WHAT WILL NEVER BE

ALL THE IMPOSSIBILITY

A PAIN FOR WHICH THERE IS NO CURE

HEAR MY CRY — HOW CAN I ENDURE?

 

BLESSED BE…

TO WHOM ALL PRAISE…

WHO DESERVES…

THE HOLY ONE…

CHOKING OFF MY BREATH…

UNTIL MY DEATH

THOUGH I AM UNFIT

I WILL SUBMIT.

I WILL SUBMIT.

 

KALONYMUS AND ENSEMBLE

WEEP FOR WHAT WILL NEVER BE

ALL THE IMPOSSIBILITY

A PAIN FOR WHICH THERE IS NO CURE

HEAR MY/HIS CRY — HOW CAN I/HE ENDURE?