Roddy Bottum’s Sasquatch: The Opera, is the dark, suspenseful tale of a family living deep in the woods, mired in greed and addiction, who profit off of feigned quests for the elusive sasquatch.
More tragedy than adventure, more drama than not, this experimental opera has a classical feel with dark twists. Tensions are high as the piece starts with a dark creature plagued by a tick in his ear, reading more of mental illness and pain than infestation with the sasquatch pivoting between tortured beast and heartrendingly innocent legend.
Parents attracted by the kid friendly label will be stunned to see a teenage girl made myth-seeking prophetess onstage on a leash within the first ten minutes. The violent patriarch’s abuse of his addict son and caged daughter are naturalized by a dark, alluring score that makes the whole forest seem mysteriously iniquitous until the girl is freed.
The cataclysm that follows is hauntingly tragic and beautifully performed grim scene of withdrawal. This arresting portrait of addiction is reason enough to attend alone.
It isn’t the ultimately simple plot or unadorned stage that justifies the tragedy, but Roddy Bottom’s captivating music. The fantastical tale of drugs, myth and mayhem don’t seem out of place or excessive but potent and persuasive in the context of those evocative tones.
Words: Emily Hall
Picture: Jonathan Grassi
Sasquatch: The Opera, Summerhall, 6-27 (not 14), 9.15pm