HERE Arts Center presents this electronic, psychedelic opera-sermon set in a cosmic radio station in the afterlife of the Thomas Paine, the Founding Father and international activist. More…
In 'Thomas Paine in Violence,' Paine struggles to broadcast a message of economic justice amidst a whirlwind of lightning-quick singing, autotuned shock-jockery, gadgets, voices, instruments, and sonic chaos.
See it if you appreciate experimental/new music (musical language I've not encountered before); you like the great Joan La Babara; you're adventurous
Don't see it if you're not prepared to leave conventional notions of melody and meaning at the door; you dislike avant-garde structure, or irreverent wit
See it if you are a fan of the avante garde and enjoy extremely non-traditional theatre
Don't see it if you are scared of anything non-traditional, don’t like being in total darkness or flashing lights, or prefer standard melodies
See it if You want to be mildly confused (in a good way) for 75 minutes, like absurdist theater, want a bizarre futuristic look at Thomas Paine
Don't see it if The term "synth-opera" sounds like torture to you (because it is indeed a synth-opera), if loud, disjointed sounds/lights bother you
See it if You're looking for something that's going to take you outside of your theatrical comfort zone.
Don't see it if You're looking for a traditional opera/play, or if you need a linear narrative in order to enjoy a show.
See it if experimental theater or social commentary interest you. Both a political indictment of class warfare & entertaining vocal gymnastics!
Don't see it if you want a typical theater experience. Wild mix of spoken word & avant garde operatics. Much of production occurs in the dark with strobes.
See it if You love Joan La Barbara, you're interested in non-narrative contemporary composition, you love Thomas Paine but can let him go tonight
Don't see it if You want an opera - this is not a story - or you want a coherent treatment of Paine's thought. There are allusions but it is frustrating.
See it if You enjoy keeping pace with dense lyrics and are excited about seeing diverse faces doing new work.
Don't see it if Abstract concepts, overlapping/repeating/oftentimes aggressive vocals, experimental work isn't your cup of tea.