So What is this ‘Feminism opera’ thing?

Thank you for asking!

Well, in short, PPL is developing this form that lives somewhere between contemporary classical avant-garde opera, performance art, musical theater, band show, play, and documentary film.  This thing, The Last Dreams of Helene Weigel or How To Get Rid of The Feminism Once and For All, is a pseudo-biography (using the life of, but not adhering to facts or chronology) of Helene Weigel, Bertolt Brecht’s wife and supposedly “the greatest actress who has ever lived.”  She has visions of Helene d’Arguentiel, a 12th Century nun/philosopher/poet and wife of the castrated Abelard, as well as of Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, a Spanish Golden Age nun/playwright/philosopher/famous lesbian, and as these visions get more and more grotesque and close-to-home, the opera sketches a clearer and clearer portrait of Feminism through the ages,  mystique through man-eating (literally) and a trajectory of female construction of self that tickles and picks at the line between subjective and representational.

There is complex live music (played by a 3 piece ensemble including synthesizer, percussion, and upright bass) composed by Brian McCorkle that sounds like…well…Brian McCorkle. It’s spiky, fulfilling, theatrical, panicky, flippant, dark, and VICIOUSLY catchy, taking the avant-garde on a trip from which it may not return…  There is also a swan puppet, informational PowerPoint presentations (if you saw On the Cranial Nerves of Barbarians you know how this works), costumes designed by Lena Sands, a set designed by Liz Jenetopulos, text and direction by Esther Neff, as well as video, video, video, including relevant footage of beaver damage, etc.

The opera is starring (in alphabetical order):   Loren Barnese, Jessica Bathurst, Kate Garfield, Matthew Gonzalez, Katie Johnston, Matthew Stephen-Smith, Tom Swirly, and Andrea Suarez.

Musicians TBA!


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