BWW Review: UNSHAKEABLE at the Santa Fe Opera (Spring Tour)

BWW Review: UNSHAKEABLE at the Santa Fe Opera (Spring Tour)Shakespeare and opera are an intuitive combination. Adding star crossed lovers to the mix is also a logical choice; a memory erasing pandemic in a post-apocalyptic society, though, is a plot element not commonly found with the others. Such comprises the basis for the plot of the Santa Fe Opera's touring production of UnShakeable, however - a lovely, accessible, and moving offering currently traveling through New Mexico and Texas.

The plot, in more detail, shows the reunion of Shakespearean actors and former lovers, Wyatt and Meridian, in an old theatre. Wyatt has traveled to all the old theatres in which he and Meridian performed in search of his love, and finally finds her. "This is not a ghost story," Wyatt informs the audience early in the production, though Meridian comes out doing her best to frighten the trespasser with - what else - Shakespeare ("Macbeth usually scares them off," she sings later). Though friendly toward Wyatt, it soon becomes clear that Meridian does not remember him or their experiences together, and so Wyatt tries to jog her memory of him by calling on her memory of Shakespearean text. The two portray some of the great romantic pairings, including Romeo and Juliet (though the genders are flipped), Kate and Petruchio, and Lysander and Hermia, touching on other characters and plays as well. When Meridian's memory of Wyatt does not fully return simply from reviewing old roles, Wyatt "calls upon the stars" in a truly touching fashion (not to spoil it, but it involves the audience in a highly effective manner).

If the concept seems a little bit unusual at first blush, that soon goes away, as the piece flows beautifully. The book (by Andrea Fellows Walters) is clever; the Shakespearean pieces she chose worked perfectly, as did the small amount of the book she herself wrote. Joseph Illick's score, too, is gorgeous and quite catchy (I"ve had one particular line stuck in my head for the past several days, to be honest). Strong performances by Calvin Griffin (Wyatt) and Adelaide Boedecker (Meridian), both in their singing and their portrayals of their multiple characters (the "play within a play" type bits are truly wonderfully executed by dramaturg and director Kathleen Clawson) enchant the audience, as well, and the brief 45 minute performance flew by (I honestly wouldn't have minded a full scale production based on this premise).

The spring tour of UnShakeable continues this evening, April 29th, at St James Episcopal in Taos. Other performance locations include April 30th at Raton's Shuler Theatre, May 5th at Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos, May 9th at Macey Center in Socorro, May 10th at Dona Ana Arts and Cultural Center in Las Cruces, and May 11th at Woman's Club of El Paso in El Paso, TX.

For more information on UnShakeable, visit

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From This Author Zoe Burke

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