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  • Writer's pictureleodoulton

Enduring The Ring: Bodies During The Ring Cycle

I have just attended my first Ring Cycle, assisting on Amy Lane’s Die Walküre. It was an extraordinary experience, with 14.5 hours of opera (plus intervals!) building to the purging and healing of the world from a longstanding curse; an exploration of nature, humanity, change, power, love, family, and more.


Other people can talk about high art; the homework Wagner rewards. I’m here to talk about the fact you’re going to need to piss.


1. You are (probably) going to nap


Literally everyone I’ve spoken to about this has admitted napping during Wagner. He loves detail, which means we have to concentrate, which becomes exhausting. Especially in a soft, warm seat.


There are three approaches:


a. FIGHT IT. This may work. Let excitement possess you!


b. MAKE IT QUICK (PRACTICAL). Succumb. If a character starts giving a summary of what’s happened in a previous opera, take the chance for a tactical nap. They’ll be a while.


c. REST BEFOREHAND (IDEAL) Take the day off, get a good night’s sleep the day before, and try and have a nap before the show.


3. When do you eat?


To stay awake, you’ll need to eat. Eating, however, causes other digestive processes to happen - a desire for post-prandial sleep, and a desire to excrete.


Two tips:


a. THIS IS A MARATHON (PLAN LIKE IT). Try and time your meals so that you’re still getting energy from them during the show, but have also got through the want-to-doze and want-to-piss stages that follow. Think about when you need breakfast, lunch, and dinner (especially if there’s a dinner interval). The goal is to get energy, feel tired, pass out waste materials, all before the show resumes.


b. THIS IS A MARATHON (EAT LIKE IT). Remember health classes at school, talking about slow carbohydrates that release energy over time? Now is your time. Eat foods that give energy over a long period of time, with fibre. That delicious sugar spike will fade, and you’re left dozy with 90 minutes of Götterdammerung


4. When do you excrete?


On one hand, staying hydrated is lovely. On the other hand, waiting for ye gods 2.5 hours with a full bladder is hell, and may impact your enjoyment. How long can you go without going? How long after eating do you need to go?


Make sure you factor this into your meal plan. Do not let a strained ring impact your enjoyment of the Ring.


5. You are a human being in a human body


The Ring is about being human. The experience of being at the Ring is a human one; one of stamina, tiredness, hunger, and being a body going through a transcendent experience.


I’d genuinely argue that this is one of the things that makes it extraordinary; that it doesn’t just explore humanity, but lets us engage with ourselves as minds and bodies simultaneously.


Just… try to nourish the body in ways that mean it doesn’t fall asleep or need to piss straight after the prelude.



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