Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fort Wilson Riot Idigaragua Indie-Rock Opera review

Idigaragua, the indie-rock opera performed by Fort Wilson Riot and directed by Jeremey Catterton at the Bedlam Theatre Sept. 6 - 16 was wildly fast-paced and fantastically light-years ahead of its time, in creativity, collaboration and complexity. Inspired by two Paul Bowles short stories ("Tapiana" and "A Distant Episode"), "Idigaragua" centers on the epic adventures of a naive American journalist abroad. Captured by pirates, he saves himself by glorifying them in the media, then escapes to an idyllic village, only to destroy it through globalization.

Having attended many Fort Wilson Riot performances over the past three years and hearing and seeing Idigaragua evolve from a short song about 3 minutes long to an hour-long five part song I looked forward to the indie-rock opera with high anticipation. I attended Idigaragua three times — it grew increasingly intense, and heartwrenching with each attendance, and as familiarity with the drama set in, as well as clarity of the vision and messages (naive ideology, falsifying media to glorify unjust war sacrificing many "to save your own skin," imposing class divides via globalization and capitalism, choosing to follow rules out of fear, and more . . . ), themes we were confronted by via a well-constructed hour-long song performed phenomenally by Fort Wilson Riot, and magnified vastly by the theatrical performers lip-syncing the lyrics and acting melo-dramatically drawing out the horrors and the humor of Idigaragua. Swords and flashlights jabbed, and puppet parts flew intensely close. The music smoothly transitioned from melodic and idyllic, to ominous and dark, to chaotic and carnivalesque, as Fort Wilson Riot members performed in costumes mirroring their actor counterparts.

The rock opera performance was just what this already perfect hour-long song needed to reach its fullest potential in its epic scope.

Idigaragua, a bird nobody likes, dog puppets attacking, being made into a circus geek, pirates beset with the problem of a bad reputation, dancing cactuses, an ominous rider, and anti-capitalism protesters are but a few of the nightmarish events that besiege the journalist, a naive Western journalist who responds in ways that leaves a trail of destruction, angry mobs and innumerable dead wherever he goes.

The magic realism of the rock opera was enhanced by lightning fast costume changes, numerous puppets, great tricks with lighting, a simple set with symbolic props. One highlight of several climaxes was a 4-minute found film collage shown on a roll-down screen with styrofoam blocks, showing a rapid building and decay of a civilization by globalization and capitalism, then being torn down by rebels against the class divide and poverty the new civilization created.

The show Idigaragua, one of the most successful fait accomplis performed by any rock band in decades or perhaps years to come, must go on, and hopefully it will continue, here and throughout the world! There is great potential for Idigaragua to spread throughout the land as an amazing song/story/drama by one of the most visionary eclectic rock/funk/jazz/punk bands around.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

3 years later, I say A-FREAKIN-MEN! This is rock opera in its highest form. If FWR shows this again, I'm there!