The Two Hot Shots: A COVID Vaccine Story - adapted from Rossini’s Otello

Two men (Rodrigo and Otello) are seated in a hospital room, waiting to get their vaccine administered. They bicker about their own macho ways, but when it comes time to get the vaccine shot, both at first, chicken out. All’s well that ends well, however, when the two finally take their medicine ... and sing really great high notes.

This scene is adapted from Rossini's 1816 opera "Otello"

About the Production:
As we look to the road to recovery during this pandemic, one known obstacle is building vaccine trust. Many communities distrust the medical community and we wanted to create a project that reflected the honest and genuine concerns of communities but that ultimately illustrates the trust in science and our medical communities required to achieve large scale immunity that allows us to put this pandemic behind us.

This operatic performance is an opera duet from Rossini’s “Otello” inspired by well known skepticism preventing individuals and communities from getting vaccinated during the pandemic. Subtitles in the opera have been crafted to humanize peoples’ vaccine concerns while building vaccine trust throughout the video. Ultimately, to generate support for COVID-19 vaccines, leveraging the power of performance to connect on both an individual and community level to increase immunity.
Nathan Granner
is a world-renowned leading tenor, headliner, solo and collaborative artist, specializing in Contemporary Opera and late Bel-Canto repertoire. The San Francisco Chronicle recently described Mr. Granner’s singing as possessing a "sinewy, ringing tone; splendidly flexible" and the San Francisco Classical Voice extolled "tons of squillo on his top notes, his honeyed tone, and his sensitive dynamic choices..."

Orson Van Gay II
an operatic tenor, recitalist, actor and a Fulbright Scholar encapsulates the unbound talents of this refined, confident and compelling artist. Mr. Van Gay possesses a unique voice that captivates the audience with his charisma and command of the stage for a singer of his generation. He joined the Cal Philharmonic Orchestra’s celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th anniversary and Beethoven’s ninth symphony as tenor soloist at Walt Disney Concert Hall where Orson’s performance was reviewed as being “beautifully sung and strongly acted...audience members were visibly moved.”

A (very) loose translation:

It's now or never
A shot for the ages
Due to COVID-19
Our brothers and sisters are suffering at alarming rates!
Word on the street is...

Infection rates are dropping precipitously with this vaccine.
If you want your cake and eat it too...
You've got to pay the piper!

Since this pandemic started
Our community has lost so much.
At first I was hesitant
I’m tired of these hands looking ashy!
I’d rather just bite the bullet
And not repeat the past!
I’m mustering the courage for a future that’s clear..

Here she comes. Tireless hero
Actually, I’m so sorry…
Are you sure I’m not going to grow a tail?
I think I’m going to pass!

Dude, you choked!
You were so close.
A bit more courage
and you'd be one step closer

You could have secured your freedom
Instead you chose your cell
with invisible bars - your mask as a shackle
Merely waiting for a day in quarantine!

You talk a big game
Let me show you how it’s done
You were first in line, I'll get it right this time
Come on Brother! Man Up!
Here's my defining moment
unwavering in my conviction
I'll be a hero at home

Ancestors help me be strong.

Hold up, wait!
This dose looks bigger than his!
I need just a moment ...
I'm having second thoughts
What irony
Yes, ironic...
Both of us questioning the cost.

This road to recovery
Skeptical, YES!!!
Brother, listen...
Scientists from MANY cultures played a role...
...developing these vaccines.

No time to waste to make an impact in our communities
It's TIME!!!!!
This is our chance
to offset systematic disparities
in our community

Imagine a trip on a plane
Not each day more of the same.
A plunge in the pool
Without breaking the rules.
A dance in the club
Not just in the tub
a kindred interaction that bonds the soul
Sing at a concert
No more curbside pickup!

Time to celebrate living without a care
sweet immunity get us there!
Let's annihilate this virus
Safeguard our future today
bridge the gap for a brighter tomorrow
Ease the pain, end the sorrow

When it's your turn
don't jump but get in line
Trust in the science, not disinformation
build an alliance, debunk misinformation
We're stronger together!

Those needles look smaller
This isn't so bad
We got this
I feel it coursing through my veins
Let the healing begin
Let the good times return again!
The stage awaits

Striking a balance between faith and science
It’s in our hands

transl. copyright Orson Van Gay II

  • George Moïse
  • Nathan Granner
  • A Lab Studios
    The Telephone - an opera by Gian Carlo Menotti
  • Orson Van Gay ii
  • Nathan Granner
    Key Cast
  • Orson Van Gay
    Key Cast
  • Jamie Chamberlin
    Key Cast
    "The Nurse"
  • Project Type:
    Music Video, Short
  • Genres:
    Opera, classical, narrative story
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 43 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 22, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    4,200 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - George Moïse

George Moïse grew up in Atlanta, GA in a family of six. He studied in Paris and then attended NYU's undergraduate film program where he acted in almost a hundred short films and directed many classics still beloved to this day. While still in New York he formed the legendary sketch comedy group "Fat Camp" in NY. Then he moved to LA and made the acclaimed short film "Out," which played in numerous festivals all over the country including the LA Shorts Fest, the Atlanta Film Festival, and the Beverly Hills Film Festival. He went on to write and direct the now famous short film, "The List," which also screened at film festivals all over the world.

George was a freelance writer for Cinefex magazine and has worked with Christiean Audiger, Red Bull, Disney, and directed videos for Ebay. Counter-Clockwise marked his directorial debut.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I’m a freelance director, animator, and visual effects artist living in Los Angeles, California.

I’ve been fortunate enough to produce work for some of the world’s leading brands including Red Bull, Netflix, CBS, DIRECTV, and Ebay.

Between client work, I am constantly pushing outside my comfort zone to explore and evolve new approaches to my work. I deeply believe in passion projects to expand my personal craft and skillset.