Monday, March 1, 2010

Damnation of Faust

Why you need to see this opera. For ME. Way back another life time ago, I created work that did not necessarily have a narrative through line. I used the best music I could find. I would throw imagery out there--striking imagery made with human bodies. Some of that imagery was drawn from media, because at the end of the last century, and now surely in this one, as a people we have developed a common vocabulary of images that serve as a kind of shorthand to narratives: the line of coffins, a soldier with a weapon. A pregnant woman clasping the flag folded from her beloved's coffin. In my case, it was a woman crumpling to her knees, sob emanating. It was her scream from the floor. Or the other one: people in mist filled boxes pushed around by robots.I would repeat the images, a leitmotif as it were. And I would leave the audience to find meaning--which would frustrate more conventional consumers. I trust audiences. I have always found that our minds will pull it all together and find a story that somehow intersects with who we are and what we care about. We can be moved by a story that cannot be told in words.

To move us, and force us to see the world in a new way--that is the job of a contemporary art work, be it a photo, a painting, a happening in a loft, or in this case, an opera. It is refreshing and wonderful that in a time where we all feel depleted, weighted down with what a friend calls poverty mind, that a so called bastion of the status quo takes a risk, and pulls out the playbook from the most contemporary performance work there is, and puts it out there to resonate. There are some traditionalists out there having a problem with a beetlejuice Brander--but I see a man decayed by his lifestyle. That vision drills into my brain. And come on, those Rat Dancers, it brings something sleazy and depraved and exploitive into the mix, even if you are not sure what it is. This show has to sit with you a while. The music will rock your socks off and I giggled to see it listed in a hip publication next to totally au courant music choices like ticketmaster Uber Concerts. This show could totally play BAM, and I love that it could draw a new generation into the hallowed halls of Wacker Drive. But go, spend the money and get a ticket. Because this show is going to stick in your eyeballs. You are going to think about it for years. You are going to find yourself downloading the tunes. This show takes my venerable beloved grandma and puts her in my daughter's generation.

And we need to get out there and support LIVE ART. Just like we need to spend more for REAL food, we need to put our money and our bottoms where our belief system lies. If you want there to be a place where your body can vibrate to the vocal and artistic equivalent of the Olympics, you have to support it with your presence.

Don't miss this show.