A Night at the Opera

Watching the Experimental Production ‘Broken Theater’ Feels More Cathartic Than Therapy

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American Modern Opera Company’s production of Broken Theater. All images courtesy of American Modern Opera Company.

What if the fourth wall were abolished and the stage were allowed to spill? What would unrestrained fiction do to us, actors and audience? Drown us, or leave us beached on the shore? This is the premise of Broken Theater, an American Modern Opera Company production directed by Bobbi Jene Smith. As I took my seat at La MaMa theater in the East Village, I immediately felt the pull of the show, a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. My boyfriend sat us directly behind the girl he’d once dumped me for, a D-list socialite, who went on to dump him at her family home. We were the guests of our mutual friend, hers and mine, the enigmatic architect and artist Adam Charlap Hyman, who’d warned me about her presence in the bathroom line. I listen to everything Hyman says very carefully, as anyone should. The show, it turns out, was perfect for my seasickness. It, too, was conceived in a storm.

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