Blogging 'Einstein'

Philip Glass's Masterwork, Minute by Breathless Minute

Lucie Jansch

By Eileen Reynolds

Published September 21, 2012.
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(page 8 of 8)

–:–: Curtain goes back up! The lights are bright! The automatons have made the lights in the matrix into bright interlocking circles! The guy with flashlights for hands turns out to be red beard, from the train! He seems to have a red eye. He scares me. His movements are getting increasingly frantic. The music is louder and faster than ever — all the instruments and all the voices are going full blast — and it’s all built around the five-note progression that’s now tattooed onto my brain. I can’t breathe! Everything from the whole show is now happening here, all at once! Bojangles and all! The pair of women emerge from beneath two plastic domes, crawling out of the sewers like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A diagram of an atom bomb descends from above. It’s sheer fabric so we can still see the scene behind it. My palms are sweaty. The man to my right puts his hands over his ears. I want to tell him he’s missing the point.

–:–: I am not at all sure what happened. Our good friends, those two tall ladies, are now on their hands and knees stage right, all alone. Someone walks in carrying a park bench, and they sit on it. The organ is playing the la-sol-do pattern that we heard when we first walked in (and then a gazillion times since), but now it strikes me as funereal. Are we supposed to think the world ended or something? Nuclear holocaust, blah blah blah? But then Bojangles girl starts her Bojangles speech: “If you see those baggy pants…” Something is coming from stage left! Is it the train again? No — it’s a bus! A big blue bus, with a nattily dressed driver and everything! He’s wearing a hat. The chorus and the violin start up their lyrical church-y theme. The bus driver starts talking about the end of day and the beginning of night and how we all need to hear a good story and the good story is about love. Love? Suddenly this all seems very Beckett — has the whole show been about these two girls waiting for a bus? The bus driver is talking about two lovers sitting on a park bench with their bodies touching each other. Are the two girls lovers? They’re on a park bench, but their bodies aren’t touching each other. The bus driver says that the lovers kiss and talk about how much they love each other. The girls do no such thing. The bus driver is so nice it makes me want to cry. He’s nice like how people are nice when they tell you someone you love has died. Has the world ended and all that’s left is these girls and the park bench and the bus? Or is that all there ever was?

11:25: Curtain calls. I am standing on numb legs and clapping. The woman to my left says, “You’ve been taking notes the whole time.” I smile. She and her husband push past me to get out before the actors have left the stage. I scowl with my eyes but my mouth is still smiling.

11:30: On the way out of the hall, I run into my cousin. I didn’t know he was coming but I am not surprised to see him. We are both speechless. My eyes feel wide.


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