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Helen and Pat Adam, San Francisco's Burning

Musical Director Rob Noah Wynne describes this ballad opera as “structured chaos.” The third incarnation of San Francisco’s Burning by Helen and Pat Adam is an experimental radio drama that depicts the city’s odd inhabitants during the time leading up to the 1906 earthquake.

The character list includes a haunted Hangman and his whore, a murderous Worm Queen, a Drug Eater, a Gigolo, a prudish Scottish Sailor, a serial killer widow, a political reformer, a stubborn dowager, a valet that speaks only in clichés, a chronic narcissist, and a sleeping walk girl. The narration and musical choices reflect the Adam sisters' poetic sensibility and Charles Ruas’s notable production experience.

Because the play is roughly two and a half hours in length, we have divided the piece in four parts, making it easier to listen to shorter portions and navigate to the same place in the play:
Part 1: is Act I Scene 1 and 2
Part 2: is Act I Scene 3, 4, and 5
Part 3: is Act II Scene 1, 2, and 3
Part 4: is Act II Scene 4, 5, 6, and 7

The Cast includes:
Helen Adam
Pat Adam
Marilyn Hacker
Robert Hershon
Barbara Wise
Peter Fleur
William Packard
Martin L.H. Rhymert
Daniel Haberman
William Trapp
Arthur Williams
Rob Noah Wynne
Technical direction by Manoli Weatherow and David Rapkin

This program is provided to by agreement with the Pacifica Radio Archives and has been restored for radio re-broadcast at our Clocktower Studios..


Historic Audio from the Archives of Charles Ruas


An unparalleled collection of recovered and restored programs from the seventies produced by Charles Ruas, and featuring Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, Anaïs Nin, William Boroughs, Buckminster Fuller, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and Jorge Luis Borges, among numerous others.