the psychology of nations, or what are you looking at

Written during the restless, confused time just after the First World War, The Psychology of Nations is the final piece in Geography & Plays (1922). It begins with a post-war celebration in Paris, then describes a little boy who takes part in a presidential election. Stein’s language runs through a variety of historical scenes in an unusually breathless fashion, ending powerfully with these lines: “I speak now of a man who is not a bother. How can he not bother. He is elected by me. When this you see remember me.”

The final act of Daniel Thomas Davis’ chamber opera SIX. TWENTY. OUTRAGEOUS, we interpreted this play (in the American context of November 2016) as a presidential election-night party gone horribly wrong. Responding to the increasingly bad news announced by WE (the Radio Voice), V, ME, and THREE offer different reactions: anger, panic, denial. The play concludes with a deranged radio and a lamentation.

The recording is 45 minutes.

listen read the play


  • Composer: Daniel Thomas Davis
  • Libretto: Adam Frank with the composer
  • Director/Designer: Doug Fitch
  • Musical Director: David Bloom
  • Sound Engineer: Ben Manley
  • Production Manager: Matt Grey
  • Photo courtesy of Steven Pisano Photography
  • Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek as V
  • Andrew Fuchs as ME
  • Ariadne Greif as THREE
  • Joseph Atkins as WE
  • Dimitri Dover, piano
  • Momenta Quartet:
    Emilie-Anne Gendron, violin
    Alex Shiozaki, violin
    Stephanie Griffin, viola
    Michael Haas, cello
  • The performance was made possible by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (File 435-2013-1684).
    Co-produced by American Opera Projects and Symphony Space.

© 2024 - Radio Free Stein. All Rights Reserved.