Posts Tagged ‘Acknaten’

Five hours with no interval.  Enter and exit at liberty. Take your seat from 20 minutes before the time on your ticket. Well, it might be 36 years old, but Philip Glass & Robert Wilson’s category-defying opera / dance / music / theatre piece certainly breaks the rules. So what is it?

Well, it’s about Einstein but there’s no narrative or story as such. There are some scenes, interspersed with linking pieces (‘knee plays’) and dances; the first knee play has started as you enter. Personally, I found the link with Einstein somewhat nebulous – I didn’t really learn anything about the man.

What there is is some good music, some beautiful poetry, some lovely dance and some gorgeous visual images. The trouble is, they are all elongated to the point where more is less. A dance starts and you’re thinking ‘that’s nice’, then five minutes later you’re thinking ‘I’m enjoying this’, then ten minutes later, you’re thinking ‘time for something else now’.

Glass is often criticised for monotony and repetition; here the repetitious monotonous music is matched by repetitious monotonous words, movement and acting. It’s such a shame, because it really does have wonderful moments – there just too many dull ones in-between.

This was Glass’ first opera (it must have blown minds 36 years ago, as it still does today) and the first part of a trilogy about men from history that continued with Satyagraha (Gandhi)and Akhnaten (Egyptian Pharaoh),  but the latter two were a whole lot better…. and shorter….. and with intervals.

This is ‘occasion theatre’ but it wasn’t as much of an occasion as I’d hoped (or the price warranted). Mind you, there were no interval bar queues….

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