Der Ring des Nibelungen: The Wrestling Match (Includes "Wotan goes to the MET")

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 20 April 2012 | 3:54:00 pm

In my ongoing mission to bring the Wagner news no one else in their right minds would, I present this introduction from Artinfo's Benjamin Sutton, on Performance Lab 115's adoption of the Ring Cycle - The Ring Cycle pts 1 to 4. Links to reviews can be found at the bottom of the page. Also included is "Wotan goes to the MET - and he is neither pleased nor Welsh



The Metropolitan Opera’s blockbuster production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle may be eliciting pity applause uptown, but a very different new staging of the epic saga in the East Village is earning its performers loud cheers and high-fives from the audience. Performance Lab 115’s “The Ring Cycle (Parts 1-4),” at the Incubator Arts Project through April 29, transfers Wagner’s mashup of German, Scandinavian, and Norse myths from Valhalla to a WWF-style wrestling mat. The opera’s bellowing gods are now the lords of a different ring — outfitted with ‘80s fright wigs and loud costumes of glittering Spandex — who settle their age-old scores in elaborately choreographed fake fights. Improbable though the shift of setting may seem, writers Jeremy Beck and Dave Dalton (who also directs) remain tirelessly faithful to Wagner’s original, and their obvious reverence for the material, combined with an indefatigable cast, make the unconventional adaptation a chest-thumping success.
The production opens as the commander of the gods, a Hulk Hogan-esque Wotan (Jeff Clarke), avoids paying the tag-teaming giants Fasolt and Fafner (Michael Melkovic andChristopher Hirsh) their due for having built his new abode. Instead of his promised sister-in-law he offers them the all-powerful ring made of gold stolen from the sultry Rhine maidens. Fafner accepts the ring, offing his brother in a brutal deathmatch that demonstrates its dangerous power. Wotan spends the rest of the show trying to recover the ring by prodding successive generations of his illegitimate offspring — another common trait of ancient gods and TV wrestling patriarchs — to battle Fafner.
Reviews: 
Culturebot

The L Magazine

The New York Times

NYTheatre.com

The Village Voice




More at: Performance Lab 115