The Old Woman

I came to see The Old Woman last night because it was a Robert Wilson piece. His staging, lighting, movement and sound worlds completely resonate with me, and I think both performers did a fantastic job of bringing Wilson’s vision to life. I was mesmerized. I did have a very interesting experience, however, in terms of where I happened to be seated. I was in the middle of lots of Russian speakers who I believe came to the show because of its Russian roots (and because Mikhail Baryshnikov co-starred, along with Willem Dafoe.) There was much anticipation before the show but after 5 minutes there was lots of huffing and muttering and complaining. It was clear they were suffering through it and several left early. They did not respond at all to Wilson’s world and hated it as much as I loved it. And in my opinion, that is a perfect evening of theater. Some people loved it. Some people hated it. And that is as it should be. I overheard people who had never seen a Wilson production who are now fans. Well done once again, BAM, for adding to the cultural conversation. I am very excited to see Shakespeare’s Sonnets this fall. I am refraining from watching old You-Tube videos of it so I can let Robert Wilson surprise and delight me yet again. (As an addendum: I was also absolutely thrilled to have seen the recent return of Einstein on the Beach at BAM. I sat riveted through the entire — very long and exciting — piece. I wish other Wilson pieces could be revived. I have missed too many of them and I am eager to experience them.)

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