Theatre Meets Disco

After her interview for her Fall’14 internship with The 52nd street Project , Theatre/Peace & Global Studies major Meghan Elizabeth Cooper got a chance to explore NYAP’s Chelsea neighborhood and  attend an innovative Off-Broadway hit..  Meghan attended The Public Theatre’sHere Lies Love – a musical by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim based on the life of former first-lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos.   HLL, which began life as a concept album is staged as an immersive disco experience in a nod to Marcos famous love of nightlife.    Here’s Meghan’s account of the evening: –


I arrived at the Public Theater to have my bag and jacket taken from me and left unsure whether I should cry or celebrate or cry because I was celebrating—and it was entirely too fun! The experience as an audience member for Here Lies Love puts you at the center and periphery of the action all at once. Neon lights and disco balls, screens of every size, a trance-like club beat, and shifting and rotating set encompass the audience. The actors and techies alike move through the crowd and move the crowd as the performance space transforms.


The experience of Here Lies Love surrounds and encompasses, mixing stories of heartache and celebration and uprising and history in such a way that the audience doesn’t know how to feel as the solemn end transitions into jubilant dancing. As the crowd poured out of the performance space, I heard a woman in front of me speculate on how phenomenal her experience had been, but then follow up with “and everyone was dancing at the end and all I wanted to do was cry,”—and I knew exactly what she meant. So I asked myself how is that useful, to leave feeling conflicted?


This question was still on my mind as I took the subway back to 305, and then I was hit with a powerful revelation: Here Lies Love had presented a reality to its audience. We felt the weight of the devastation in the Philippines, the gravity of the bombs as they hit and shook the whole space we were in, but we also felt joy as peace was restored—and that’s complicated and conflicting, but so relevant. Here Lies Love was more than entertainment; it told a story whichwas an experience.  –   Meghan Cooper, DePauw University – Fall 20014 NYAP Participant


Click here for a sneak peak at Here Lies Love:




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