House of Stone
2006-2017

House of Stone is a five-part episodic avant garde opera composed and recorded between 2006-2016. The work tells the story of five siblings struggling to survive in the wake of their father’s untimely death. SORNE wrote over eighty songs using his five octave vocal range, make-shift percussion using objects such as stretched canvases, flapping dog ears, pots, pans, droning sounds of printers and kazoos as percussive and melodic elements in the work. The debut record, House of Stone serves as the overture to the opera with five volumes of music providing the narrative content, all told from the perspective of the five brothers and sisters. In conjunction with the music, SORNE created hundreds of art works, designed and built stage sets and costumes and toured internationally working with a host of dancers who brought the story to life. 

The Characters

FIRST BORN
The oldest son of the father. Groomed, reared and raised to assume the throne. Trained to kill. He was beaten and whipped to make his body and mind strong. He became mute at the age of sixteen. Born a hermaphrodite. Does not want any of the responsibilities of the throne. He defers to his younger brother, Second Sun. He is feared by all, but depends on his brother, Second Sun for leadership.



SECOND SUN
Born by a different mother, but of the same father. Has a major inferiority complex. Very intelligent. Idealistic. His mother commits suicide when he is a teenager. Her death sends him over the brink, and he tries to kill himself with a .22. First Born saves his life. From the age of eighteen onward, he develops and exhibits a second personality, one who he relies on for guidance and reason. He develops his manifesto and plans to reform and resurrect his country and all that he believes it should be. He depends on his first-born brother for strength.



LITTLE BROTHER

Born of a different mother, but of the same father as First and Second. Born homosexual. Because of his orientation, he is beaten by his father. He is cast out in his adolescence. Spends twenty years roaming the earth as a vagrant, prostituting himself for change. He discovers a lust for blood and death of the lovers he takes. Never knew his mother. As a young boy, his father ordered him to kill the first boy with whom he fell in love.


BLACK SISTER
In age, she is the oldest sibling of the five by the same father. Their father laid down with the black sister when she was a child. She is the mother of the First Born, but has kept this a secret all of her life. The father is slain and his body burned atop a pyre. The burning is the first of its kind as forefathers were embalmed and buried whole. After mourners leave, she covers her skin with his ashes in mourning. She loved her father. He was her god. She hates her brother, the Second Sun for what he has done. Now, she is godless, fatherless, directionless and seeks only to look after her brother and son, the First Born until she can lay down and die beside her father.




BLUE SISTER
The youngest child of the father. At the age of 9, her father tried to force intercourse on her, and when she resisted, he scarred her face with his knife, burning her right cheek, and cutting off her nose, so that no man would want her. Veiled in blue, she ran away from home by the cover of night. After twenty years, and with the death of the father, the Blue Sister returns, having forgiven him, and believes in the revival and resurrection of her country, in spite of what her father had done to her.



Synopsis

Initially, House of Stone is not set in any time period, nor does it find itself rooted in any place or culture, though, many references have been made implying that this place and its people belong to a future America, broken and reduced to a city-state located in the desert. The story begins with the death of the father, at the hands of his first-born son. For seven years, the Second Sun has plotted for his own ascension to his father’s throne. Their kingdom, a once great and feared nation, has gradually been reduced to a withering city-state whose land has been sold off, traded away, and her people demoralized by the outside World Union.



The kingdom is the last of its kind, a symbol of old-world ideas and place controlled by fear and acts of violence. The First Born and Second Sun are a co-dependent brotherhood in which one fulfills the needs of the other. Second Sun defers to First Born for brute strength and action. First Born defers to Second Sun for tactics, leadership, and will. The two brothers formed their allegiance to one another as adolescents, when Second Sun tried to take his own life and was saved by his brother, First Born. It was during this moment of trauma, that the Second Sun developed a second personality; a god-complex self which then fostered the weaker, more volatile Second Sun in the development of a new vision and destiny for himself and his country.



It is with this surrogate daughter, that he begins to speak again. The only other person who knows of this child, is the Black Sister, who watches over the well-being of her brother and son, First Born. She resolves to keep the child a secret from Second Sun. Both First Born and the Black Sister are loyal members of their house and have served their father up until his death. Now, they both begin to look inward, in an attempt to decipher and untangle the complex web of conflicting emotions as their fate unfolds before them.



During this time, news of their exploits spreads across the land and oceans, inevitably attracting the attention of the World Union, and also, the long lost Little Brother, third son of the father, cast out years ago to wander the land as a vagrant of shame and self-loathing. As tensions build due to failed acts of diplomacy by the WU, Little Brother returns home, his intentions unclear to him, but his unsavory lust dictating his actions all the while. He comes to his brothers only after talking with the Black Sister one night, and deciding to help them in their efforts to rebuild their country.



Hearing of her father’s death, the Blue Sister, youngest of the five also returns home. When she was a child, her father scared her face out of spite, when she would not submit to his intent to father a child by her. Under cover of darkness, she ran from home, and for twenty two years, travelled the earth, bottling her tears for the day when she could water the flowers on her fathers grave.



As an impending sense of doom grows, each sibling comes to terms with their suffering, seeking atonement, salvation, redemption, freedom, and death through their shared sense of fatalism.


House of Stone Art

Death I Art

Death II Art

Death III Art

Death IV Art

LIVE VIDEOS
A selection of moments from the House of Stone live experience




SHORT FILMS
A selection of short films pertaining to House of Stone