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1 NOISE SYMPHONY (or click titles to play .mp3)
When Max Understood begins, we see Max standing alone in a dark space. Then, we see him react to being overwhelmed by a barrage of common environmental sounds. No dialogue occurs during this scene; rather, we see his physical reactions and hear vocalizations.

2 MEET MAX AND MACHINE
Max picks up his president machine toy and begins pressing buttons in a curious way. The song that follows is an attempt to capture the spirit of Max in music. The piece is repetitive and presents a metaphor for math. In order to control the sound of the president machine, most of its noises were recorded and then assigned to unique keys on a MIDI keyboard using sampling software.

3 NEGATIVITY
Mom and Dad lash out at the world and all of its inherent problems as a way to deal with the situation. The television lashes back. Click here to view a movie of this song with lyrics.

4 WHY CAN'T I BE NORMAL UNDERSCORE
Built on the vocal rhythm of the text "why can't I be normal," this piece accompanies moments in the play when Mom and Dad deal with their own ability to be "normal."

5 RIBBON
Mom sings a duet with the washing machine. Listen to a description of the creative process for this piece. Click here to view a movie of this song with lyrics.

6 KIDS AND CARS
During a moment of inattention, Max sneaks out of the apartment and is confronted by neighborhood children. They are dangerously close to the road and accidentally chase Max into traffic. Click here to view a movie of this song with lyrics.

7 SHAPE YOUR WORLD
Enter Munc, the leaf blowing and yard-keeping philosopher. He recognizes something in Max and attempts to pull it out of him.

8 DREAM
Peg is a heavy-set girl who has a secret wish to be light enough to fly. Although she is one of the kids who chased Max into the street, he now sees her as Pegasus.

9 REACHING
Mom and Dad are searching for a way to break through to Max. The environmental noises "sing" in rhythm to the music. A beautiful chord represents an epiphany.

10 RUSHED UP
Max meets Albert, the fact spouting kid, who also turns out to be a rapper. Kevin Turner performs the rap for this piece and coauthored some of the lyrics.

11 SHUT UP!
Fin and Max encounter each other. Max attempts to converse with Fin but this just annoys her. He makes her talk like Billy Mays of OxiClean. At the end of the song, he rips Fin's pony tail loose and she loosens up.

12 HIS NAME IS MAX
In this piece, Dad reflects on simple facts about his son, Max. During the second verse, the sound of the President Machine begins to call to him, and Dad has an autistic experience.

13 PRESS A BUTTON
Dad is overcome by Max's world.

14 CLOUD
Munc reads (sings) a Wordsworth poem to Max. Max understands.

15 POWERFUL POWERLINES
Mom is overcome by Max's world, and defeats her fears at the end of the song. After the bell ending this song, she exclaims, "Powerful power lines are like dogs!"

16 GET CLEAR & CASIO POETRY
During this song, Mom and Dad completely “break” through into Max’s world. The end of the piece is engineered to sound like Max's toy keyboard.

17 POETRY + THE WATER
Max is reintroduced to Fin, one of the kids who chased him into the street, but now she is a very beautiful mermaid. Munc has taught Max how to express himself by this point, and he suddenly serenades her.

18 THIS IS NORMAL
Mom and Dad adopt a new definition of what is "normal." Then Max "turns off" the play.

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