Friday, February 11, 2011

What is this experience?

Walls covered with plastic tarp, personnel with freakishly robotic friendliness greeting you with lines of "What is your name?" and "Sorry, our facility is under renovation at the moment," the atmosphere hardly felt like an opera was about to be performed inside its space. It was unsettling. The older crowds looked as if they weren't sure if they had bought tickets to the right show. But for me, I felt as comfortable as if the former group was sitting in a box seat at a traditional opera house. It was giddiness that was silently taking over me. I could not wait for what was about to happen.

The lose wires and unassuming scaffolding, and bits and pieces of props littering the stage plus the onstage orchestra -- it felt like we were invited to a personal rehearsal. The entire space felt like it had sprung out of spontaneity, as if friends were gathering around to improvise a little storytelling rendezvous. However unfinished the aesthetic may seem, the product was anything but powerful and in depth, and deeply calculated. Every bit of surprises and unusual choices seemed to have been pored out of much thought and in want of reaction -- and reactions they got.

For the first time in my life, I am made to feel sympathetic or rather, admiration, towards Death. It is an unusual story that is much more prevalent than one may think. Death does not make one suffer, but relieves one from suffering. Death is a good guy, if you really get to know him.

What a present surprise the whole evening was for me; opera in its nontraditional form. Much more intimate space, you could literally see the actor's jaw tightening from emotion. And in English -- never mind that some words were hard to understand without the super titles, it was gloriously wonderful to have heard it sung in a language I understand. BLO needs to do more of this. This production was bold, inventive, wonderfully thought provoking, and visually a feast for those who cannot pay attention for long periods of time, which was to say perfect for me.  

- Ying Songsana, Emerson College

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