It’s hellblaze, it’s hailfire, it’s End Times in a woodshire.
It’s beast-fest, it’s creature talk, it’s peril-loom with Wolf astalk.
And it’s winds and rains, and hymns and flames, and sylvan news among cauldrons and stews unto potions and motions of Apocalypse brew.
And it’s so cleverly timely, and so gravely eternal. It’s The Storm: An Apocalyptic Folk Operetta, written by Stuart Cameron, executed by Saints of an Unnamed Country and staged, for two more nights, at Secret Project Robot.
And lo, since it is everything, plus a healthy dose of then-some, we’d expected upon announcing it here some weeks ago, we very highly recommend you make haste to go. For what you’ll find is not just a charming interspersing of shouts and growls and songs and drones hurled forth from a talented, nimbly choreographed, dashingly beast-clad troupe of actors, and not just a mesmerizing, nearly hypnotic mixture of partially improvised as well as properly composed music running a broad gamut of instrumentation, but also an exquisitely delivered script that hints, with level subtlety, at today’s varicolored human crises—of commerce, of nature, of finance, of culture, of surfeits of information and woebegone ethics of nurture—all the while remaining firmly rooted in now whimsically folk-inflected, now deeply folk-steeped idioms and performative tropes.
What’s more, that same script is vehiculated not only via regular primary rhyme schemes, but also, if only to hum along further yet, a heavy measure of ever well timed, occasionally cowbell-chimed meter. Try writing something like that for seven largely species-specific animal voices, five of whom speak over and under and through one another for nearly the entire duration of the spectacle.
And in case all that doesn’t smack of the trappings of a damn fine hour of theater, have a damn good look at some of the photos. Hewn from apparently hulky chunks of wood by a fellow named Shitty Bedford, those animal masks alone—crafted and charred down south in the State of Peaches to be parceled and donned up north, if I’m not mistaken—might have you hustling to see them closer up.
Until, that is, you cower back in half-horrified, half-bemused fear. For the ominous oracles of Coyote, Wolf, Bear, Badger, Crow, Fox and Rabbit will assure you indeed that some dreadfully cataclysmic “great storm … great storm” lies on our horizon—or that it’s already here.
Now go see and hear for yourself.
Tonight, tomorrow. Go.
Decide for yourself what form of ruin is near.
Secret Project Robot, now in Bushwick, is located at 389 Melrose Street, near both the Morgan and Jefferson L stops. Stagings of The Storm are preceded by different performances each night, doors always at 8:30. See here for more details.
You can follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio