Friday, October 31, 2008

the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe

so a few weeks ago, i went to an opera. it was my first opera and so i took notes. i kind of felt like julia roberts in pretty woman except without the dress, jewelry, private plane, hot man, and well... i guess the only thing we had in common was the first opera experience.

keep in mind, i am no stranger to bizarre plays - i worked at the ART, one of the most progressive (and by progressive i mean "weird") theaters in the country, but this was really an odd theater experience.

while sitting there, looking around before the show started, i noticed that it was a huge, ornate building with gold crusting and lions eating people. it was a nice.

so then the lights go down and the music started. beginning! so exciting! the red velvet curtain on stage was down. there was a small spotlight on the curtain while the music played. as the music got louder and more intensive, the spotlight spread. then the curtain went up and the audience was excited. another 10 min or so with the curtains up and the music playing, the curtain then went back down and the spotlight was then again on the curtain. but no people or singing. another 10 min of this spotlight on a blank curtain and music playing. not so exciting. i felt like i was watching the opening of dr. zhivago. (great movie, btw)

finally, the curtain opens and a large stage is seen - it's a big white box with a bunch of metal bars on the sides that kind of look like ladders.

a man comes on stage singing and i think two things: 1) he's not fat and 2) i wonder if he realizes he's singing in latin. i couldn't understand a thing he was saying. i tried very hard to determine if he was happy, sad, forelorn, excited, or just... european because apparently most people can't understand opera and you just can "tell" whats going on. so something happens to him - he oversang or just decided to fall down. either way he's on the floor. so while he's down and out, three women come out on stage singing. they frightened me - they had these obscure dresses on with very tightly combed blonde hair, red lips and blue eyeshadow like mimi from drew carey.
i kept thinking that i wouldn't know if they missed a note.

it's about this time that i realize that they aren't singing in latin - they're singing in german. it didn't really matter - i still couldn't understand any of it.

then this guy comes out who is like at least 6'8". he has a metal hand - it looked like the mesh you wear when you're doing that one sport where you stick each other - that duel thing. anyway, he had a mesh hand and birds were sitting on it. and then there was a pumpkin. so the women give the big man some bread, wine, and something else so he would climb up the ladder on the side of the building.

the guy on the ground is almost dead and the women have mirrors and use the mirrors to revive him. the big guy is still on the wall and i kept thinking, what if he fell? wouldn't that be funny? is that horrible?

then a boat comes out on stage and the big guy climbs up higher. he is stroking and caressing his hand and his upper body while he has food in his mouth. i'm not sure we were supposed to be paying attention to him.

so then this woman comes out singing and she is a cross between ursula from the little mermaid and angelica houston from the addams family.

she is clearly in pain and she violently rips off her hand while the three women stare at each other. then she rips out her hair (a wig, obviously) and then to show just how much pain she's in, she rips off her breast. the dress was black and so when she ripped off her breast, it turned red. it reminded me of indian jones when that big bad guy puts his hand over someone else's chest and rips out their heart (his name is mola).
lots of oh ha oh oh oh oh oh in a really high pitched voice.

so then the monster woman falls dead. they come with a stretcher and take her away, but they forget a leg. so then there is a leg just laying there on the stage.

oh right then the big man takes the witches hand, which was also left behind from the body, and is really excited and continues to caress himself when his broken hand is touched by the dead real hand.

just wait. it gets better.

so then the three women come out with these closets on rollers and what comes out? a very long, 2 foot glass phallic structure. it looked like it was blown glass from vienna and clearly meant to be you-know-what. so they keep putting this in the air and singing to it. in the other rolling closet it a set of metal balls. you can only imagine what these are supposed to represent. my notes then say "gyrating hips" so someone was gyrating.

then, apparently because there aren't any black german opera actors in berlin, a man comes out in black face. they call him the "blonde negger" which doesn't sound as bad as it does to amerians - negger is the word for black person in german. he has bright red lips and eats a banana. i know, i know. i wouldn't go there except this is what happened. someone says "er stinkt" so he was smelly. then they bring a young woman out and she is in a cage. then a second man in black face comes out and he is wearing a white suit with an open shirt and reminded me of tubbs from miami vice.
then there were three old men played by 8 year old boys (they had long gray beards) and they were dragged away.

next came out a rolling platform with an 8-foot tall priest. on the platform was a statue that looked like the sculpture of david.

i was wondering if it was a real human and my suspicions were confirmed when it moved and turned into the thinker.
a few minutes later it moved again and turned into that one statue with the guy and the disc (can't remember the name, so i couldnt find a picture of it). he was really good - i couldn't tell he was breathing despite not wearing any clothes.

next, after the statue and priest left, 2 cat-like people with extra big chests come out holding hands. they seemed happy and then all of a sudden they start stabbing each other.

then a big group of men dressed with black and white striped shirts, black pants and holding spears come out. they start playing the metal balls from the closet and everyone is happy.

then there is a man in a wheelchair with three lions. a gaggle of people behind with white shirts and long arms.

so this was just the first act. i didn't take notes for the second act which was decidedly less surprising - all of the surprises had come out in the first act.

long story short: the mesh-handed tall man finds another mesh-handed woman. the witch comes back but in white. the young girl in the cage falls in love with the boy who had almost died at the beginning.

OH the LAST thing i will say is that why was there a 15 minute applause???? i couldnt leave! we just kept clapping and clapping and clapping. and each character took an individual bow, then they all come out together, brought the orchestra conductor out, then leave, then they all come out again. individually. ?????? it was... an opera experience not to forget.

1 comment:

  1. how many of you have read this book?

    my 4th grade teacher, mr. johnson, really wanted me to read this - he thought i would like it. i couldn't get into it and i know he was disappointed. i'm not huge into sci fi or fantasy, but the name stuck with me.