Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Review: Music's Healing Powers

By Michael Block 

Music has the power to heal. Whether it's the mood, the vibe, the words, the spirit. Music is culturally universal that whether you know the story or inspiration or not, it can pull emotions out of you or the artist. Such is the case in Life in 60 Minutes. Directed by Joey Stamp and music written by Zach Stamp, Life in 60 Minutes is a punk rock song cycle that defies the rules.
Life in 60 Minutes uses a series of 10 songs performed by Zach Stamp that chronicle his life as a Marine Corps veteran. Highlighting life in high school, boot camp, Afghanistan, addiction, and recovery, Life in 60 Minutes has the blueprint for brilliance. The foundation is there, now it's time to build up. Music is our way into Zach's world. Even if this is your first time meeting him, his music shares all. The concert style storytelling is a unique way to share this story. It's hybrid theater at it's finest. Watching it, you can see where this show can go. Joey Stamp keeps things simple and allows the music to be the focal point. But it's the beats of dialogue in between that need to be workshopped. Not necessarily the specific words but how they allow the piece to flow. There's a consistency that after each song, there is a song ending light cue and applause. It stalls the momentum. While they lead into recorded dialogue and mask certain costume shifts, there's a way to make this piece fluid. There's no reason why we can't watch Joey and brother Michael dress Zach as he speaks on the microphone. In a way, it allows the world to revolve around him. While a writer loves to know that their work is appreciated, the one and only applause wants to come after the last song.
The amount of vulnerability and bravery that Zach Stamp exposes on stage is extraordinary. You have to applaud him for heal with us. Joey helps to make this show special not just for family and friends, but those who may be struggling too. With a concert vibe, having the projection drop cloth be of the muted American flag and candles surrounding the instruments was the right aesthetic.
Life in 60 Minutes is a simple show to the eye but a courageous show at heart. The future is unbound for the Stamp Brothers. A little workshopping and a van and this show is on the road for greatness.