Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

Director Katie Mitchell has another spare, bleak literary/musical adaptation onstage this weekend at Lincoln Center, and ohhh, am I cursing that cross-continental commute.

You'll remember Mitchell as the technologically-savvy artistic mind behind last autumn's similarly literary adaptation of Virginia Woolf's The Waves. She's done it again, albeit sans video, this time in "One Evening," which the NYT calls a "Schubert-Beckett mash-up." Those of you in Manhattan, you've got one more chance to catch the austere soundscape poetry-slash-music production wrapping up tonight.

It's a piece of theater described in so many of my favorite words: "melancholy, bleak, haunting, naturalistic, wrenchingly beautiful." Read the Arts preview from earlier this week, which fleshes out the production vision a bit; Mitchell describes her lyrical motivations there:
The idea in ‘One Evening’ is for the audience to imagine a young man walking through the snow across a changing landscape. That’s the basic aural experience. You literally hear footsteps, breathing. The songs and the poems are the thoughts in his head.” (This scenario is precisely that of Schubert’s song cycle.)
You'll find details there about the performers (solo tenor, solo upright piano, and actor Stephan Dillane reciting Beckett's poetry), as well as several audio clips of the haunting tenor and piano duets. Then click on over to Anthony Tommasini's mostly-positive review, which emphasizes the realistic immediacy of the natural sound effects and the poetic English translations.

It's not exactly the Nutcracker, but who wants tumbling bon-bons and Clara and the Rat King hopping around all the time, anyway? This austere, melancholy production seems much more suited to the feel of the world these days. See it.

Schubert and Beckett: Footsteps in Snow (NYT)
Music Review: A Duet of Schubert and Beckett (NYT)


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