Core: A World Too Wide

I was terribly disappointed last night at CORE Performance Company’s ‘a world too wide’ at the Rialto Center for the Arts. The piece was danced to live accompaniment by a baroque orchestra from Houston called Mercury. The concertmaster was so bad that I was actually embarrassed for the orchestra. I felt even worse seeing the second violin cringing at the concertmaster’s mistakes over and over again. I have no idea if the mike was causing some of the problems, but a lot of that was just poor performance and possible poor instrument maintenance — some of that creaking sound was probably due to rosin buildup on the strings of the violin. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the concertmaster; the violinist most down stage left had no idea how to handle his bow and one or two people needed to learn the music a little better so that they could peek up at the conductor more often and stay with the ensemble. And could anyone even hear the theorbo? Why would you have only one theorbo in that large of a violin string orchestra? For that matter, why would you have a theorbo in that large of a space? It’s a very quiet instrument. We have two perfectly good baroque orchestras in Atlanta but Schroeder wanted to bring these guys in all the way from Houston?

What I could see of the dance performance and choreography looked good, but it was mostly hidden behind the orchestra. I don’t understand why they sold seats in the first five rows. I really don’t understand why they sold me a seat in the first row behind the conductor, especially since I would have blocked the entrance of the musicians and Boettle’s bizarre pass in front of the audience during which she, for some reason, laid a path of rose petals that I doubt anyone else could see; I’d not have been able to see it from the second row if I hadn’t been leaning forward to try to see between the heads of the violin section. From their marketing materials and knowing the Rialto, I assumed that the orchestra would be on stage with the dancers, otherwise I’d have sat in the cheaper but much better seats in the loge. I find myself asking, as I often do at dance performances in Atlanta, if anyone actually thought to check out the space when working out the staging of this thing. Seriously, if you aren’t considering audience perspective when staging your work then you really shouldn’t charge them for tickets.

Leave a Reply