Traverse Theatre Autumn Festival 16-21 November
This month the Traverse Theatre will house their second Autumn Festival, a six-day event that presents new work from Scotland and the UK with experimental dance and puppetry at the centre. But kicking off the festivities is an altogether dark and sinister piece: In the Penal Colony a chamber opera by Philip Glass presented by Music Theatre Wales and Scottish Opera. Based on Kafka’s short story, In the Penal Colony focuses on a prisoner about to be killed by a grand torturous machine. With only a small ensemble including a string quintet and two singers and the audience only metres away in the Traverse’s intimate space, this is going to be chamber opera at its best, far removed from the gigantic cavernous stages that pieces of this calibre are usually performed on.
The ideas which form the haunting Kafkaesque world of enigma and cruelty that Glass effortlessly explores in his looping, lilting and intoxicating scores hold a stark relevance in a society where such nightmarish situations have become maddeningly routine with events at Guantanamo Bay highlighting but one. Whilst in Kafka’s time, In the Penal Colony might have been more concerned with man’s relationship to machinery and alienation from the natural world, today his work takes on new meaning and with MTW’s music director Michael Rafferty conducting what’s described by Glass as a “dark, existential, soul-searching thing”, Penal Colony is going to be an theatrical experience that challenges, defies and evolves convention.
In the Penal Colony @ Traverse Theatre 16 Nov 19:30
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