An opera entitled Einstein on the Beach suggests a story about the theoretical physicist Albert Einstein taking a holiday on a beach somewhere. But the opera of this title to be screened at THOC Warehouse in Nicosia tomorrow has no specific plot and it sees Einstein more as a mathematician and a scientist than a man out for a day at the beach.
Einstein on the Beach, an opera in four acts, is composed by Philip Glass and directed by theatrical producer Robert Wilson. It contains writings by Christopher Knowles, Samuel M. Johnson and Lucinda Childs. Each section of the opera was composed as if it were a portrait of the drawings created by Wilson while he was creating storyboards for the piece.
The opera is part of Glass’ Portrait Trilogy and has been described by Glass as “portraits of people whose personal vision transformed the thinking of their times through the power of ideas rather than by military force.”
The 1976 opera consists of 20-minute scenes in four acts separated by knee plays (interludes between acts). There are five such knee plays in the opera, which act as opening and closing scenes.
Einstein is portrayed purely as a historical figure and there is no real storyline attached to his image. Although there are symbols from the icon’s life, there is no specific plot. This approach to the opera was constructed in order for what is performed on stage to be more truthful. Commenting on this, Glass said that he originally intended for his audience to construct a personal connection with Einstein as a character and with the music that he assigned to the icon.
The opera is performed by actors Helga Davis, Kate Moran and Antoine Silverman, together with the Lucinda Childs Dance Company and the Philip Glass Ensemble.
Einstein on the Beach
Screening of the opera. November 15. THOC Warehouse, Strovolos, Nicosia. 7pm. In English with Greek subtitles. Tel: 22-864361