I couldn’t resist asking Diversionary Theatre to supply digits for our second By the Numbers post. The theatre’s new “queer opera” opening this weekend has a numerical title!
First, a bit about the production: Sextet’s six scenes are sung in a bunch of varied American styles. San Diego composer Nicolas Reveles wrote the opera. He is education director at San Diego Opera.
Reveles says Sextet came to him while he was sleeping; he woke up at 3 a.m. with four of the six scenarios in his head. But it wasn’t a snap to complete. The music took years to compose while he figured out the right combination of structures to match the scenes. The six episodes are not related in their storylines, but Reveles said they collectively explore themes of gay male desire: for power, sex, belonging, intimacy and stability.
Here’s Reveles, from the theatre’s press release:
They all reflect things that have been special or unique in my own life, a search for the real Jesus and spirituality, a love for fairy tales, for the horror genre and grand guignol, a deep respect for Walt Whitman, who I believe was not only our greatest poet but our greatest gay poet, and for those little domestic tragedies and tender moments that brush by us every day.
Now, for the numbers.
• 6 scenes with 6 actors
• 5 flashlights to illuminate body parts
• 3 musicians (piano, violin, cello)
• 1 washtub
• 4 designers (set, costume, lights, props)
• 1 bold flower-print caftan
• 1 each: understudy, intern, director, musical director, choreographer
• 4 years from idea to stage
• Rehearsals spanning over 13 days
Executive Director Dan Kirsch threw in a couple more interesting numbers. This is the 25th anniversary year for Diversionary Theatre, he said, and Sextet is the company’s first opera.
The opera opens Friday with more shows Sunday and Monday.