Composer Marie Incontrera had a few minutes to speak about her new opera titled At The Other Side of The Earth. Subtitled “A Riot Girl Opera” (also nicknamed that), the piece has already been previewed this past May 18 at the LGBT Community Center (Read David Pearson’s review of it here: Marie Incontrera’s Riot Girl Opera (A First); ICIYL, 6/2/12)
The opera stars Jasmine Presson (who both stars in the production and directed it), Ilana Zarankin, Hillary Esqueda, Tabes Bridges and Katherine Cardin. It gets its first extended run at WOW Cafe Theater, opening on National Coming Out Day, October 11th (8 PM), and running until October 14th (3 PM).
Marie spoke to me via skype.
“At The Other Side of The Earth is a lesbian punk opera, and it’s a coming-out story set in an oppressive society modeled after Orwell’s 1984, so there’s a lot of dystopia in it.
I’ve been working with my teacher Fred Ho for about a year and a half now, and he encouraged me to start writing more risky works. My work, up until this point has been very safe. In the opera world, there’s very little opportunity for this stuff. So, I wrote the story about this coming out, and the stakes are raised because it’s a very dangerous society for this sort of thing. You have these two archetypal characters–You have Aurora, the main character who comes out and discovers herself.
There’s also Layla, who’s the riot girl. There’s also ‘the man’, and he’s sort of this one-dimensional stereotypical character who is the oppressor–he’s the government, he’s the police, he’s everybody, and he comes in and makes it very hard for the girls to have their time and feel what they’re feeling. Layla is in strong opposition to the man, and it creates a lot of the tension throughout the story.”
Promo for At the Other Side Of The Earth, with Jasmine Presson as Layla
“The piece’s setting is sort of fuzzy, it could be anywhere at any time. Obviously, the riot girl movement happened already, but it could be 20 years from now, it could be the 1800s–It could happen in China or Texas, and that’s how I intended it.
It’s set like a chamber opera, but there’s a lot of popular musical themes in it. There’s jazz, there’s reggae, there’s punk–All these different influences that I hope come across.”
At The Other Side Of The Earth (A Riot Girl Opera; Premiere)
Thurs, Fri, Sat, 10/11-13/12, 8 PM
Sun, 10/14/12, 3 PM
WOW Cafe Theatre
59-61 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10003