“Let’s make a Sandwich” is perhaps not the most interesting invitation. Even a sandwich you can eat with a fork doesn’t really inspire much emotional conviction. So, a sandwich of micro-operas inspired by a 1950s infomercial of the same seems dubious at best.
Then again dubiousness is just that at which Geurilla Opera, the ensemble-in-residence at The Boson Conservatory, excels.
With exquisite musicianship, thoughtful dramaturgy, and no-holds-barred risk taking, Guerilla consistently makes the mundane interesting, even operatic.
In this case, two composers freely adapted librettos from the same source material, a 1950 informational film, called “Let’s Make a Sandwich.” Each opera-etta is presented twice, with separate stagings by two directors, resulting in a sandwiching of an operatic sandwich about a sandwich.
A sandwich is, of course, never just a sandwich, and that abiding truth is especially apparent in this rich territory. How interesting it is to compare how the two composers found different meanings in that same 1950s tuna rarebit and then how the two directors presented those perspectives differently.
Another abiding truth: interestingness covers a multitude of sins. While one cannot deny these compositions shied too often from beauty, the stagings played too much to shock, and performances didn’t always necessarily fill the small Zack Box Theatre, one could not help but be overwhelmed by the creative potential, technical facility, and fun.
Where else might one more dramatically confront the circularity (sandwiching?) of life than in a scene where young Sally gives birth to an heir as Mother is suffocated by the director and father of all?
When else might we more clearly recognize the power of perspective and the multiplicity of meaning embedded in objective reality than in this enjambment of multiple creators’ creations, apart from everyday life?
If a sandwich is not just a sandwich, an opera, not just an opera, what then is life?
“Let’s Make A Sandwich”
Sept 26-27, 2014
The Zack Box at the Boston Conservatory