I regret to announce Alora died 01/07/09
(though no longer in business, her site remains as a memorial...)


          "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner has haunted me since I was first forced to read it in an English class during my childhood schooldays in Montana. I have often wondered who was telling the story, since the Mariner's narrative was a flashback story-within-a story; and who this Ancient Mariner was and what was he doing on the ship in the first place--and as far as that goes, just which ship was this anyway and where was it going? Why did he stop this particular man to tell his story to and whose wedding was it and just what was the name of the town? Who else was on board that ship and why didn't we get to know anything about them or a sailor's life at sea? Why did the Mariner kill the Albatross and what was so special about this bird that would warrant a man having to wander forever telling his tale to the unwary?
          "When I began to dramatize this poem as a benefit for the Southwestern Oregon Community College's new Performing Arts Center, I decided to answer these questions as best I could. I refuse to believe in a world where the lost cannot be found and redeem themselves, so I have changed the ending somewhat to reflect that belief. While researching this story and many of the legends and superstitions of old time sailor men (when sailing was still SAILING, by God!), I found how sea shanties permeated nearly every aspect of a seagoing man's existence and have tried here to incorporate them into the story which I and my departed collaborator have created. As any Shantyman worth his salt would do, I have changed and added new lyrics as necessary to accommodate the work at hand."
Contact Alda for more information. e-mail!
2300 Bruno Drive
Bosque Farms, NM 87068
call 1(505)869-9407 (after 10am Mountain Time)


          ALBATROSS is a musical adaptation of the 18-19th century poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It is the story of an Ancient Mariner who offends Nature by killing an albatross while on an ill fated sea voyage. Everyone on his ship, but he, is killed and brought back as zombies to man the ship; and he is cursed to forever wander the earth telling his story as penance.
          The show begins with an old Shantyman playing his squeeze box/concertina as he welcomes the audience to the sailing village of Port Cull where a wedding is about to take place. Before going into the church, Erica, the bride to be, and Polly her mother are both sad that husband and father was lost at sea when his ship went down with no survivors 20 years ago to the day in their own harbor. After the women exit three wedding goers enter, Ralph , Ira and Jack, a drunk brother of the of the groom who promises to disrupt the wedding; however, before he can enter the church he is stopped by an Ancient Mariner who tells him a story. . .
          The Shantyman leads the cast in a traditional shanty while a ship, the Aurora, is pieced together from the village set and the scene changes to 20 years earlier when a young farmer, Eric is bidding goodbye to his pregnant wife, young Polly as he boards the ship for a sea voyage around Cape Horn to Sunset Bay, his one and only trip at sea in which he hopes to make enough money to keep his struggling farm afloat. Also on the wharf are the cabin boy, Kip, his Grama Fran, Hazel, Winifred, Zoe and Miriam. On the deck of the Aurora, preparing to shove off are Captain Howell, 1st mate Benjy and Donny, the cook.
          With many a sea song to urge them along, the Shantyman and crew weigh anchor, raise sails and embark on a voyage that will see them repairing nets, holystoning the deck, pumping the bilge and singing forebitters in the fo'c'stle until a freak storm causes them to be frozen in place at the South Pole where they meet up with an albatross. When they are able to escape the frozen fingered grasp of Antarctica, Eric kills the following albatross and they become becalmed in a strange new sea and make the acquaintance of Death and his mate Life-in-Death who gamble for the lives of the crew. Later two sea sprites, Mistyhe and Mistyshe visit the ship and cause the Shantyman's music to reanimate the shipmates so that they can man the ship to get Eric, the only living member of the crew, to land where he can begin his penance.
          Audience members familiar with the original poem, the Rime of the Ancient Mariner will recognize many lines that were kept intact ("As idle as a painted ship on a painted ocean." "Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink." and others.) and be surprised at new ideas and answers to questions that were raised by S.T. Coleridge. It is a moving story with a surprising ending that is nicely filled out with many old sailing work songs; as one cast member put it: "Alda, is there any Shanty you didn't put into the show?"

Scene 1: Port Cull on the Wedding Day

        INTRO TO ALBATROSS-- 2002 Alda Hofferber-- (the Shantyman welcomes you)
        LOST AT SEA, BUT FOUND IN MY HEART -- 2002 Alda Hofferber-- (Polly recalls her husband to daughter Erica)
                        Ralph, Ira and an intoxicated Jack, are on their way to the wedding, but Jack is stopped by an Ancient Mariner.
        BONNY SHIP AURORA--traditional sea shanty [TSS]--(as the Ancient Mariner begins his tale the village is transformed)

Scene 2: On Port Cull's Wharf, 20 Years Earlier

        GOODBYE FARE YOU WELL--TSS-- (Eric, a young farmer wishes his wife Polly goodbye as he ships out for the 1st time)
Fran sends Kip out for his initial turn as a cabin boy; Capt. Howell bids Winifred goodbye, as does Donny to his wife Zoe and daughter Miriam, and 1st Mate Benjy to Hazel and all the other girls of Port Cull.

Scene 3: On Board the Good Ship Aurora Heading South

        PORT CULL GIRLS--TSS-- (after getting the Shantyman aboard, the crew weighs anchor)
        PAY ME MY MONEY DOWN--TSS-- (sail is raised and the Aurora sails south to round Cape Horn and then to Sunset Bay)
        DEAD HORSE--TSS-- (ceremonial shanty to celebrate the finish of the first month at sea)
        DRUNKEN SAILOR--TSS-- (if groggin goes to your noggin there's no telling what might happen to you)
        SAILOR'S ALPHABET--TSS-- (as they "holystone" the deck the crew sings about the different parts of a ship)
        FIRE DOWN BELOW--TSS-- (Donny and Eric pump the bilge)

Scene 4: In the "Fo'c'stle"
During its off time, the crew assembles a "fu-fu" band for an impromptu sing along.

        PADDY LAY BACK--TSS--(story of an on again off again sailor: one who sails for necessity?)
        MARRIED TO A MERMAID --1740: Thomson and Mallet--(Benjy and Donny entertain)
        THE MERMAID --mid 1700's: Francis J. Child- -(the crew says seeing a mermaid at sea is bad luck)

Scene 5: On Deck
While Eric is drinking on watch a freak storm drives the ship into the Antarctic.

        ALBATROSS-- 2002 Alda Hofferber--(the Shantyman relates the legend of the Albatross)
        ROLLING DOWN TO SUNSET BAY--TSS--(thinking of warmer climes the crew pushes ice away from the hull of the ship)

15 Minute Intermission

Scene 1: On Deck, Now Heading North

        AWAY, SUNSET BAY--TSS--(the crew has managed to turn the ship around so they can once again try to reach Sunset Bay)
        STORMALONG JOHN--TSS--(Kip and Eric are told of the quintessential sailor everybody has heard about but no one has seen)
        SAIL AWAY--TSS--(hoping to catch some wind to take them to the Cape, the crew raises some more sail)
        PIRATE SONG--TSS--(while celebrating their passage beyond the ice, the Captain sings about one type of pirate)
        CAPTAIN KIDD--TSS--(Donny sings about the bad type of pirate)
        SAILOR'S HORNPIPE--TSS--(Kip learns to dance on deck so he won't have to dance from a yardarm)
        HAUL AWAY, JOE--TSS--(after Eric kills the Albatross, the cloud cover lifts and the light returns so they put up more sail)

Scene 2: In the "Fo'c'stle"

        BLOW THE MAN DOWN--TSS--(they sing about the different FISH IN THE SEA)
        A RIPPING TRIP--TSS--(Kip sings a shanty his Grama Fran taught him)
        NEW YORK GIRLS--TSS--(Donny and Benjy tell of the temptations of working girls in a large city)
        A'ROVIN'--TSS--(Eric swears never to go to sea again)

Scene 3: On Deck, Becalmed in a Strange Sea

        SHENANDOAH--TSS--(becalmed and dying of thirst the crew thinks of the ones they left behind)
                                                Death and his mate, Life-in-Death, gamble for the lives of the crew
        WRAP ME UP IN MY TARPAULIN JACKET--TSS--(Eric laments his fate of being the only one left alive)
        ONE MORE DAY--TSS--(Mistyshe and Mistyhe, two sea sprites, reanimate the crew to man the ship)
        OUR GALLANT SHIP--TSS--(Although the ship returns to Port Cull, it sinks in the harbor)
                                After hearing Eric's tale told for the first time, a Hermit tells how Eric must atone for his sin.

Scene 4: Wedding Day in Port Cull

        ROLLING HOME--TSS--(after finishing his tale to Jack, the Ancient Mariner is revisited by Life-in-Death)
        ALBATROSS (REPRISE)-- 2002 Alda Hofferber--(the Shantyman bids you adieu)

ALBATROSS Cast Performance Dates
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Script and
Royalty Info
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Alora's Handpainted Tile Murals