My blog has risen from the ashes! It’s because I’ve had a new outlet of creativity: getting to understudy for two tracks in Sometimes The Rain, Sometimes The Sea by Julia Izumi this spring at Rorschach Theatre (performing at Atlas Performing Arts Center through April 16 – you can learn more and get tickets here). One of my major ways of making sense of this world was creating a playlist with what I considered the most essential songs to establish the two different characters in different parts of this universe. Some of them are thematic, some are relevant to plot points and character traits, and some just give off the best vibes. I’ve expanded on what some of the biggest songs in the playlist mean to me in the context of STRSTS here!
“Rain Clouds” by The Arcadian Wild
“A spark of hope is what I’m after.” This song fits in with the messages and language of the show so well; right down to mentioning rain clouds following them, fear of drowning (Ina’s biggest fear) and the idea of not being alone.
“To Feel The Rain” by Phoebe Katis
“To feel the rain is to love again.” This was the most obvious song for me to put on here. It’s a beautiful, soft song that fully exemplifies the level of poeticism and intimacy that this show exudes in its quiet moments. It touches on all the major themes about being open to love, feeling understood, things worth being saved and “feeling the rain” with others.
“Love Letter from the Sea to the Shore” by Delaney Bailey
This song was specifically chosen to represent the moment where each cast member breaks character, goes out to the audience and tells their own love story to the audience. Delaney Bailey’s singer songwriter vibe fits that level of intimacy.
“Catch Me In The Air” by Rina Sawayama
For a final song beyond “Unwritten,” I think this Rina song really fits the vibe, especially with the address to a “little girl” who’s grown, and the general messaging of leaning into fear and saving each other. It’s just so hopeful and epic at the same time.
“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield
For anyone who’s been following the show, you might know how much this song means to this company already. It’s just a classic and a sweet bop that’s been an essential part of the process. Even beyond that one line that’s a direct reference to rain, it also makes sense as a song about writing your own story, and it being limitless – from the perspective of both Hans and Little One.
The Midi Songs:
“Green Green Grass” by George Ezra
“Midi” is short for “Midori,” which means “green.” And lots of references throughout the script point towards Midi representing grass. In an earlier draft of the script, she directly said: “I love like grass grows.” Hence….the main reason why this song is included. It’s also a jaunty, energetic song, and I think it’s important to bring her playfulness into this story, especially in her earlier interactions with Ralmond. This is her ideal state: green grass, blue skies, no worries.
“How Was Your Day?” by beabadoobee
I envision this being the vibe in the lighthearted ask of the words “How was your day?” in the first Midi/Ralmond scene.
“Savior Complex” by Phoebe Bridgers
Ralmond describes one reason why he likes Midi is her passion for saving the world and everyone in it, which is also a reason why he doesn’t like her sometimes. So…yeah. That has to come from somewhere. I think “Savior Complex” and the idea of Midi having a “saving people thing” is so essential to get right.
“Over The Ocean Call” by Lizzy McAlpine
There’s a whole scene where Midi is taking a million phone calls while Ralmond proposes to her and it ends in the worst way possible. So……..your local Lizzy stan had to include this. It’s not the most perfect comparison but it’s very much the emotional vibe.
“Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell
“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.” Beyond the fact that Midi is an environmental activist and I had to include at least one major environmental activism song, Midi literally goes through the journey of almost losing Ralmond before she realizes she needs to make sacrifices for him.
“Silver Into Rain” by Luna Li
I imagine this as the song in her inner monologue when she is alone and calling Rallie.
“Lightning and Thunder” by Jhene Aiko
Midi is terrified of lightning and thunder. This song is also about two lovers who are apart but deeply miss each other. It is a straight vibe and provides some good energy for the second half of the show.
“Fallingwater” by Maggie Rogers
“I never loved you fully in the way I could / And I'm like falling water, set me free”
This is Midi realizing that she and Rallie love each other in different ways, and having her own come to Jesus moment that if she loves Rallie who is now a raincloud, she loves the rain. And the entire second half of the play for Midi could be summed up in this song, as she learns to love Rallie while still feeling free to be herself.
The Ina Songs:
“Hurricanes” by Rina Sawayama
The idea of “running into hurricanes” and “chasing hurricanes because I can’t feel the rain” is just so fascinating. I think this could fit both Midi and Ina in different ways: Midi’s tendency to run towards hurricanes in terms of her anxiety and being scared to love; Ina’s tendency to default to being defensive and on the attack, being a literal hurricane every time Edvard tries to speak any words of love to her at the beginning. But they both learn how to open themselves up to love in the way that Rina sings about.
“Beautiful Stranger” by Laufey
“A fairytale moment could have occurred.” I think this is how Ina feels internally throughout her first interactions with Edvard, but does not DARE to share externally. Much of what I love about Ina’s journey is that she didn’t seek out a fairytale ending, and was trying to avoid it, but still somehow had the “Beautiful Stranger” moment when she wasn’t looking for it.
“Head On Fire” by Griff/Sigrid
“Trying not to fall but it feels so right.” I fully think this is how Ina feels for the three first scenes you see her. She is literally losing her mind and feels like her head is on fire for somehow falling in love with someone she put herself on a mission to not love. There’s an aggressiveness and strong rhythm to it that I think really suits Ina’s vibe as a person.
“Me and My Husband” by Mitski
This is Ina’s fear of what it might be like if she was forced into an arranged marriage that she didn’t want; a relationship based on fear and not true love. I wanted a song that taps more into her emo side.
“I GUESS I’M IN LOVE” by Clinton Kane
So this is Ina when she’s rescuing Edvard on the sea shore and gradually falling in love with Edvard. Literally with her head upon his chest. And a lot of the lyrics speak specifically to things that resonate with their relationship: Edvard not knowing the right words to say, Ina not knowing if she’d ever find someone she’d really love (“isn’t finding true love harder than that?”), this being something that is very new for her.
“Part of Your World (Reprise)” from The Little Mermaid
I needed “moment on the shore” background music vibes, because Ina and Edvard have that moment of Ina supposedly “rescuing” Edvard on the shore.
“Mastermind” by Taylor Swift
This is Ina telling Edvard that she purposely went to his kingdom and that it was HER plan all along to try to get rid of him…but she ended up falling in love with him. In a weird way, even though she didn’t purposely try to fall in love with him, she is a mastermind of her own fate and had some level of control in this courtship and above all just wanted love because she didn’t have a lot of it herself.
“Accidentally In Love” by Counting Crows
I feel the need for a song that fills the gaps in between Edvard/Ina’s wedding and the Hans scenes: the moments of them finally actually being in love and embracing the fact that they found each other – accidentally lol. (Plus it does reference being “once upon a time” in love.) (And yes I realize it’s the Shrek song, we need something that taps into Edvard/Ina being the example of love being “foolish!!!”)
“Begging For Rain” by Maggie Rogers
The combination of fire and rain imagery makes me think once again that this is a great way of summing up Ina in one song. “I try my best not to be bitter, give my rage a babysitter.” I think this exemplifies a lot of what I was exploring when figuring out how I wanted to characterize Ina because the differences between me and Ina are much greater than me and Midi.
“Seafoam” by Hikaru Station
This is the best song to finish out this playlist in general, but it also is a great way to end the selection of Ina songs with her being a major source of support for Hans in ensuring that he feels the love and thanks that lead him to eventually be comfy becoming seafoam at the end of the show. She might not be able to rescue him (as this song does mention the “waves drifting away”), but she’s able to share comfort with him in the best way that she can before he goes.