An Allegory of the Great Scandal of the
News of the World
and the Trial of Rebekah the Red!
The Hackers Opera differs from other musicals both in structure and in form. It differs in structure because I have tried to write a spoken word opera similar to the Beggars Opera but with a modern subject. At the same time, the device of having each scene introduced by a flautist and ballad singer harks back to the past. It differs in form because the book is written in entirely rhyming couplets. This work is an allegory of the News of the World (NOW) scandal and subsequent trial of Rebekah Brooks. It is introduced by a short (two minute) film in which Rebekah sells her soul to the devil for power. As this suggests, what is metaphor I have written as fact and vice versa.
Following this prologue, the curtain goes up on a triumphal scene at News International. To a background of Gregorian chant, Simon Stench raps out a song that exposes the cynicism in his trade. Shortly afterwards, the politicians arrive to kiss Rebekah’s backside which of course, is what happened metaphorically.
Meanwhile, the victims of the NOW, frustrated by the inertia of the police, summon up the spirits of the ancestors which is a very old notion in English mythology. The trial that follows, provides an opportunity for Simon Stench to make the case for the defence by pointing out the complicity of the readers. Despite this, Rebekah is sentenced to be burnt at the stake.
In the Prison scene, Rebekah summons the politician (a recognisably David Cameron type) and the devil who appears throughout the work both as a man and as a woman. Besides ballads and Gregorian chant with rap, the music includes country, modern opera, bossa nova and soul.