Pretty well, artistically.
As with any show of this nature, I’ve learnt a lot just by doing it - how audiences respond to different prompts, which tasks might be a bit too time-consuming, which ones a bit too simple, and so on.
But mostly, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing people respond to a show about how to relate to the unknown and one another with a great deal of humanity. Between tales of romantic relationships, healing, protection, and scholarship, four different groups of people have woven their communities through Come Bargain With Uncanny Things.
The underlying aesthetic people keep coming back to in their description is ‘cosy but disconcerting’, which is more or less exactly where I want to be. Cosy enough to be safe, and emphasise the values being referenced there of mutual support, respect, and giving-time-to-be, but disconcerting in all the other ways, especially in the relationship with the unknowable and dangerous Uncanny Thing.
That is to say, you can present your best attempt at drawing to other adults, and it will be valued for what it is rather than mocked. Which feels important.
It needs fine tuning in a couple of areas, and some of that can be done this week; others may be a longer-term project.
But the basic idea of ‘opera allows us to reach for the more-than-human; here we go’ definitely works.
It’s also been great seeing what emerges by giving the cast the space to play with one another each night; the show’s world has room to explore, and freedom to create in.
We’re hopefully going to see some fans return this week to dig deeper into the lore of the show, and maybe be able to try some of the high-powered magic available if you know where to look.
Equally, for all I think it’s a really neat show that should come back, because it’s pretty awesome and offers a new answer to the ‘how can we redefine opera?’ question, it may not return.
We need people to come to it. Word of mouth is starting to pick up, but we’d still ideally have a couple of sell-out shows to prove to potential backers that we can deliver a product people want.
Which I reckon we can - there’s been an amusing gulf between the folklore/fantasy audience and the oh, this isn’t opera? audience at times. But I think for the people who’ve come to it with open hearts and minds, it’s been a heck of a show.
So if you’d really like to help, use whatever device you’re reading this on to tell three friends you reckon might love it. It really does make all the difference.