Two nights ago we saw "Woyzeck" by Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan, and Robert Wilson at BAM.

The music is amazing. Tom Waits's music at this point is that of a new Kurt Weill, and I mean Weill at his best. We were sitting on the front row, so it was fun to be able to watch the small orchestra as it played. The lyrics (created by him and his wife Kathleen Brennan) are brilliant. They never choose the clichéd or obvious word in a phrase. In "Coney Island Baby":

Every night she comes To take me out to dreamland When I'm with her, I'm the richest Man in the town

I almost expected the phrase to be "the richest man in the world", but "town" works so much better.

Some other favorites from various songs:

The plural of spouse is spice.

God's Away, God's away
God's away on Business. Business.

She's a rose, she's the pearl
She's the spin on my world
All the stars make their wishes on her eyes

I'm not crazy about Robert Wilson. I think he has some good ideas and things are often attractive, but he's in a rut. His style hasn't changed much over the last ten years, and there are certain gestures -- such as a spotlight only on a character's hand -- that have become rote. There were however, a few fabulous moments. When Marie and the Drum Major have their first big scene together, at one point she is singing "Everything Goes to Hell":

I don't like dirty dishes in the sink. Please don't tell me what you feel or what you think.

and she sits on his back as he crawls across the floor on all fours. It's hard to describe well, but the audience burst into spontaneous applause before it was completely over.

Anyone who has seen images of Wieland Wagner's [framed site - hit cancel if asked] productions at Bayreuth can realize that Wilson is not as much as an innovator, in terms of visuals, as many people think.

At the reception afterward we talked with our friends Charles and Ray, fellow BAM-ites not to be confused with the artist Charles Ray, and looked at the celebrities: Isabella Rossellini, and Russian gay activist/poet/porn star Slava. James has some good links for him.

Many of the songs from "Woyzeck" are available on Tom Waits's "Blood Money" CD. I talk about that CD plus his "Alice" -- both highly recommended -- here.

Later today I will add a couple of MP3s from "Blood Money" and "Alice".

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