First viewed by PROTOTYPE producers at Operadagen Rotterdam, 33 1/3 Collective’s Bluebeard had its North American Premiere as PROTOTYPE Festival’s first International work in a co-presentation with 3LD Art & Technology Center. Having successfully created and produced a number of multimedia projects, the 33 1/3 Collective was invited by the Voi-Z Festival Zwolle, in the Netherlands, to produce Bluebeard (Blauwbaard). Bluebeard successfully premièred on April 1, 2011. This success resulted in the Collective being invited to perform at the Opera Dagen Rotterdam (May 2012), Oerol Festival (June 2012), Sound Festival, Aberdeen (October 2012), Sonica Festival (Cryptic Org), Glasgow, Schotland (November 2011), and now the PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now Festival, New York (January 2013).
The music and soundscape of Bluebeard are pre-recorded with a score created by nine musicians of the renowned Rosa Ensemble (www.rosaensemble.nl) and one female singer. (There is no live music in this work.) Bluebeard expands on a traditional folk story with the visual themes of the Collective folded within. In the story of Bluebeard, it is said that the locked rooms mirror the workings of the Duke’s – and therefore man’s psyche. The relentless quest of Judith, the female and also virtual protagonist of Bluebeard, to enter these rooms, whatever the outcome, represents women’s pursuit of truth and their desire to understand the workings of men, hopefully to their advantage.
In the Collective’s version of Bluebeard, the basics of the classical theatrical setup are shifted. For instance, Bluebeard’s male protagonist is not illustrated by a performing actor, but has been turned into a virtual circumstance. The virtual Judith leads the audience through several doorways and makes it seem that what is happening is behind closed doors. As a result the audience feels as if they are inside the chambers, witnessing and undergoing Judith’s destiny. Through this approach, virtual, multilayered, mysterious and constantly changing spaces are visualized and projected onto the floor as well as onto the geometrical environment of a large (sometimes pivoting) cube.
Photos by Mark Groen.