Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Les Mamelles De Tiresias at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.


Les Mamelles De Tiresias (The Breasts of Tiresias) presented by Florida Opera Theater is a comical opera that was basically written to encourage people to go home and make more babies after the war. Therese is a housewife who is tired of her domestic life and wants the exciting life of a soldier. Her husband keeps interrupting her singing to come effect by demanding bacon. She unhooks her apron, and her breasts float away like balloons and she becomes a man. After she goes off to war, the husband puts on her apron and becomes the wife. As the wife he has to fend off the affections of a police officer who is taken in by the female attire. The improbable changes of sex seemed to ignite a heightened desire.

In the second act, the husband (wife) has given birth to more than 40,000 babies. All his children had successful careers in the arts making him a rich man. As a finale, the two large balloon creatures I sketched, floated over the audience. Phallic appendages gave the creatures a surreal appearance. Each had trap doors in their under bellies and those doors opened, raining balloon babies down on the audience. I had hoped to sketch the stage hands work in the pulleys that hoisted the balloons over the audience. I was asked to move twice and then to to leave the upper balcony by the spot light operator. Only staff were allowed. I finished the sketch on the ground floor in my assigned seat in row L.  Of course I was in a foul mood, but I managed to complete the sketch. To add insult to injury, I lost my bag of art brushes in the theater. I checked with lost and found, but they were never turned in.

General Tiresias wage war on childbirth. But her former husbands success in raising so many children thwarts her plan. There is a playful scene with dozens of children singing and playing hide and seek in a nursery. This was definitely one of the strangest Operas I have ever seen. I'm still not sure what to make of it.

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