Jim Maclaine’s “Dea Sancta et Gloria” is our not-for-profit expansion of the character’s rock opera dedicated to the ‘glory of woman’ – the main theme and concept of which were seen in the film, “Stardust” (1974) and read about in the accompanying novel of the same name, both written by Ray Connolly. It was Ray who had actually written the lyrics for the main theme of “Dea Sancta” and it was indeed Ray who informed me that it was now out of copyright jurisdiction by many a decade. Therefore, I was given permission to use the theme, and expand upon the concept for this special presentation which includes the addition of a further 9 lyrical prose/poetry pieces (defined as songs) as written by me – writing as ‘Jim Maclaine’. My interpreted expansion of his rock opera is about to become a voice production project exclusively made for upload to this website which our visitors will be able to access for free. The premise of this page is to document the development of the voice project over several months leading up to and including its recording date at the turn of Spring, 2020. This is “Dea Diary”…
‘Dea 1’ – June, 2019:
“Whilst holidaying on the French Riviera I spent the best part of a day sprawled out under the sun on the beaches of Juan-Les-Pins mulling over the prospect of further developing “Dea Sancta” and in particular how it was now going to be achieved. That evening I went back to my studio apartment in Antibes and made further notes for development. The next day I caught the train to Nice and proceeded to undertake further sunny ‘mulling’ sat outside a Bar/Restaurant on the east side of the port. Throughout the afternoon the notes continued to flow along with the beers and wine.
My notes included a retrospective look at how my expansion of the concept first came about 11 years ago soon after we had completed the documentary short for my independent online radio drama, “That’ll be the Stardust!”
When I think of “That’ll be the Stardust!” one name always springs to mind, and that name is of the talented actress who was my leading voice actress in the production…her name is Madeleine Havell. We worked well together, creating a special ingredient of ‘chemistry’ for our characters – and she worked bloody hard to help achieve this, for she not only voiced one character but a total of eight! Madeleine’s name was circled within my note-taking in the South of France.
When I landed back on British soil I further contemplated the development of ‘Dea Sancta’. Earlier this year I had given opportunities to people to assist me in its development but for one or three reasons these opportunities evaporated within a short space of time (I anticipated this, therefore it wasn’t a major inconvenience). However, it was during these ‘opportunities’ that I was hit with such questions as “Do you and Madeleine have plans to work together again?” and “Wouldn’t she be ideal to assist in the development of ‘Dea Sancta’?” The answer to the latter question was “Of course!” – little did anybody know that it was my intention to employ Madeleine as a mentor for the production along with her undertaking a lead voice role, naturally. However, it wasn’t so easy to answer the former question. We hadn’t worked together since our promotional radio show at CityBeat in London back in May, 2009. The last time I saw her was a few months later in August, she was in-between travels from her home in Bristol and we met up at Leicester train station for the signing of some promotional material for “That’ll be the Stardust!”. The last time I had actually spoken to her over the phone was in February, 2010. But, we did have sporadic contact via email and social media subsequently throughout the decade – especially when she became the ‘muse’ for twin characters in my crime thriller of short stories entitled “GOLD1E” (still in progress). Furthermore, she was featured in this website’s “Showcase: Scenes from a Radio Drama” which highlights some of her fabulous performances in “That’ll be the Stardust!”.” (To witness them click the icon below…)
‘Dea 2’ – July, 2019:
“Time had passed. A lot of water had flowed under the bridge. My burning question: Would Madeleine answer my ‘S.O.S.’ of sorts to further the development of my production…??
I reached for my notepad again to embark upon further planning which included total expenditure costings such as studio hire, travel expenses, etc. and I also undertook further analysis of the lyrical prose (or songs, if you will) of the production with the prospect (or hope) of two people performing them (one of them being myself). Further to this, I turned back to the page in my notes which had the name of Madeleine Havell circled in the middle of it. I then reflected upon the very fine recommendation she had bestowed upon me several years ago for my LinkedIn profile. A line in the recommendation from her read: “as well as being a talented voice-actor he is also an excellent writer.”
Without any further hesitation I approached my laptop in the living-room and proceeded to draft the email that would detail the voice-over deal for Madeleine, with the hope of reuniting my artistic qualities with one of the most talented and adaptable actresses I had ever worked with.
After clicking the send button I waited a while just in case the email pinged back at me; maybe she was no longer using that address. But after a while there was no such ‘failed delivery’ message, therefore I was content with being reassured that my email had been sent and possibly received.
During this time I continued to analyse the scope of “Dea Sancta et Gloria” as a voice-over/voice-acting production which in turn led me back to a distant horizon of the past – our independent radio drama, “That’ll be the Stardust!”
The Production had presented Madeleine with a couple of ‘firsts’ back in 2008/09: first time voice-acting in an independent radio drama and the promotion side of it granted her the first time she ever appeared on a radio show – the latter here can also be accessed via “That’ll be the Stardust!” web page by scrolling down at the following link:
I am proud that my production bears these two distinctions for her. Now, a decade later things are developing full circle with the expansion of “Dea Sancta et Gloria” – Jim Maclaine’s rock opera dedicated to the ‘glory of woman’ from the film, “Stardust” with a direct connection to the aforementioned radio play – and an opportunity that presents another first.
The email reply arrived the next day and as soon as I finished reading it, another sample of Madeleine’s recommendation for my LinkedIn profile immediately came to mind: “He is the most dedicated and creative individual who is very passionate about the industry…” – I like to think all this is conveyed in my depiction of the “Dea Sancta” production via its web page and her email wholly confirmed this for me. I am so pleased that Madeleine Havell will be joining voice-acting forces with me once more – 10 years after we last collaborated! The history of us working together with “That’ll be the Stardust!” and “Dea Sancta et Gloria” provides us both with a unique professional arc of experience which I am also very proud of.”
‘Dea 3’ – August, 2019:
“When you view Madeleine’s Showreel trailer (above) you are immediately struck by her versatility as an actress and it’s easy to see how compelling her journey has been through this collage of scenes. Her performances in “That’ll be the Stardust!” offer us the audio equivalent of such a showcase.
It is going to be extremely fascinating to share the same studio setting and microphone space once again with Madeleine. Both of us now having a few more years of experience and maturity behind us will indeed be beneficial to the production as we ‘spar’ our way through words and themes and expressions with musical flavourings, albeit spoken, not sung (she is considerably glad about this!). Yes, there’s going to be a lot of ‘unsung’ sunshine – but very much celebrated – across that audio landscape we wish to paint.
A few emails into August and Madeleine discovered that I wanted to introduce a couple of ‘bookend’ aspects to the project: a website interview and the ‘in conversation’ segment between us both (the latter to be recorded immediately after the entire “Dea Sancta” production on the day). The logic behind this stems from us having a documentary filmed previously for the making of the radio drama (both parts of this can be viewed at the beginning of “Showcase: Scenes from a Radio Drama”). Therefore, this time around, there will be no documentary but there will be a fine audio and text ‘snapshot’ which will allow us to delve into a type of retrospective combined with a “making of” approach to the production followed by a debrief of the whole proceedings.
My original plan was to record the production either this side of Christmas, 2019 or during the early months of 2020. Taking into consideration our schedules and the remainder of restructuring that had to be done for the project, Madeleine and I agreed that a March/April, 2020 recording session would be the most beneficial for the production. Without any further ado I began to liaise with Madeleine via email about the scope of the project and what was required of both of us. Obviously, the ‘Dea Sancta’ web page on this site is a valuable source of information and one which play an important part in our approach to developing it:A brief synopsis of each lyrical prose that forms the basis of the production was also referred to: The expanded draft of the overall project which now features 2 extra segments evolving around the main production:
All lyrical prose pieces now restructured for voice-over duet purposes. However, an inspired re-write of “Make Me Good” from the soundtrack of “Stardust” will be crafted specially for the “Dea Sancta” theme performance in the production. “Make Me Good” is an uptempo ballad performed by ‘Jim Maclaine & The Stray Cats’ in the movie (vocal by David Essex). However, the vocal on the soundtrack album is by Dave Edmunds who produced the song. I always associate this song with Danielle – Jim’s French girlfriend in the movie – and their blossoming relationship. Here’s the youtube link: