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*Symphonie Fantastique,* 6/15/18

Francesca, Brian, and I saw Basil Twist's *Symphonie Fantastique* on 6/15/18. *SF* is a landmark piece by Hector Berlioz and puppet genius (I hesitate to call him a "puppeteer," what he does is so much more extravagant than that term implies) created an abstract "staging" of it in a giant fish tank.

Yes, a giant fish tank. I would guess it's about eight feet wide, five feet tall, and two feet deep. The puppets weren't puppets in the traditional sense, they were shapes, glittery swirls, noodles, discs, all kinds of wondrous shapes. The objects are manipulated by six puppeteers in scuba suits (I imagine they get quite wet, though from what I saw they don't actually go INTO the water). The lighting by Andrew Hill was dazzling and varied, often surprisingly intense and precise. The images switched around so quickly, it was often hard to figure out what you're looking at or how it's being created. The whole thing was exciting, unique, and overflowing with imagination.

Pianist Christopher O'Riley played the Liszt transcription and he played the HELL out of it. It's hard to imagine him playing this seven times a week for twelve weeks, but hey, that's what we performers do, right? He certainly gave no impression of being tired or uninspired.

But let me note that this show was not for everyone: Francesca, Brian, and I loved it, but another friend who was there (who shall remain nameless) HATED IT, hated every minute of it. He said he wished he'd saved his money and stayed home and watched his screensaver.

Here's a sort of preview of the show:

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