Appropriately performed in a spacious and eclectic private loft nestled in the back alleys of downtown’s fashion district, The Burning Opera “How to Survive the Apocalypse” delivers a rockin’ night of FUN and spectacular performances by a multi-talented cast and crew!
Produced and performed by experienced Burning Man enthusiasts and a few virgins (people who have never been to the annual event held in the desolate dusty outskirts of Reno), this multi-media production manages to capture the essence of Burning Man’s transformative highs and lows with vibrance and artistic integrity. The costumes serve up enough fur, feathers, lace, and skin to satisfy any visual palate. The musicianship of the alternating band members (each cast member chameleons between instruments and roles) is top notch and is matched by authentic and poetic performances of singing, dancing, shadow art puppetry, and moments of deliberate silliness.
The story loosely follows a couple attending Burning Man for the first time. Since the woman experiences an initial resistance/overwhelm and the man experiences a desire to explore, we follow them on separate journeys towards love, freedom, and eventually complete surrender. What I love most about the Buring Opera experience (and it is an experience) is that nostalgia for my own personal expeditions on the playa began to spring up from my subconscious and by the end of this couple’s odyssey I found myself in the timeless mindset, or rather soul set, of Burning Man.
For a festival that is so hard to explain to those who have never been (and even harder to capture with media) this production satisfies a multitude of senses in the way that only a live show can. Because the music and shadow puppetry often serve as metaphors and never attempt to “explain” what Burning man is, this live show is able to take us on a voyage with it begging the question, “When we stop consuming what can we create?”
There is an intermission that seems more crowd driven than clock driven offering ample time to meander around the spacious loft space and mingle with other guests, many who I had met before and some old friends, and a bar if you indulge in spirits. After you fall in love with the costumes in the show, you can deck yourself out in similar attire as there are a plethora of vendors selling hand made clothes and accessories.
During the second act it occurred to me that Rock Opera stylistically perfectly captures both the chaotic and synchronistic nature of Black Rock City (the temporary city created by Burning Man participants). I continually delighted in the masterful musicianship of both the instrumentalists and the vocalists.
At the end I couldn’t help but think, “What does this performance provide for the person who is Burning Man curious but has never been?” So I asked someone who has never been what her experience of the show was. She said that she thought Buring Man seemed like a place where anything goes and everything is accepted. She said the show made it seem fun and interesting and that she really enjoyed the performance, the music, and the overall experience.
Bottom line: for Burners this show is a MUST SEE and if you have never been to Burning Man GO! If what the show proposes is true that “You don’t know who you are until you find your Avitar” then you best get to it! Attending the Burning Opera is a great place to start!
Love and Light to you all and as always:
Be Silly. Have fun.