The Patty Rehearst Story
Written by Deanne Taylor
Music by Andrew Paterson
Produced and Performed by The Hummer Sisters:
Bobbe Besold, Janet Burke, Marien Lewis, Deanne Taylor
Video Installation and Image Mix by Chris Clifford and The Hummer Sisters
Additional Music by Michael Brook, Deanne Taylor, Hank Bull
Additional Lyrics by Andrew Paterson, Marien Lewis, Bert Arnowitz
In February 1976, The Hummer Sisters teamed up with playwright/director Michael Hollingsworth and composer Andrew Paterson on a performance for Fifty Ways to Heat Your Video, an Ontario Video Producers' Conference organized by Lewis and Taylor. The collaboration led to the founding of VideoCabaret that summer. Joined by Video Artist Chris Clifford, this group of artists offered up the first VideoCabaret productions: Strawberry Fields and The Patty Rehearst Story.
From the 1976 Press Release:
“Patty Rehearst is a video-rock musical about media-rape.
Patty Rehearst is the Electra myth re-run.
Patty Rehearst is a simple old-fashioned love story:
boy meets girl, father is struck impotent, and mother understands everything at last.”
The Patty Rehearst Story was created at the height of the media frenzy surrounding Patty Hearst, kidnapped granddaughter of newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, who eventually joined her captors as an urban guerrilla. The work was originally performed as a 20-minute entr’acte for Strawberry Fields at the VideoCabaret Theatre Club (then operating out of A Space Gallery) in 1976. Both pieces introduced the use of 'video-in-theatre-in-rock'. The Patty Rehearst Story subsequently developed into a larger piece, and played numerous Toronto venues (most notably A Space and Frank’s Place), before touring to New York City in 1978.
The Patty Rehearst Story marked the beginnings of what would become one of the signature styles of VideoCabaret: banks of televisions, live rock and roll, hand-held video cameras in the face of the performers, and political commentary. Characters carried cameras as casually as a mirror, as murderously as an assault rifle, in more metaphoric ways than can be described.