It's Stravinsky and Wagner meet Queen and Led Zeppelin, with some inspiration from Lord of the Rings and Marvel comics.
Did that get your attention?
Last night Teatro ZinZanni's tent was packed to the gills with curious audience members wanting to get a free backstage look at how the beloved Seattle institution put together its latest production, "Dinner at Wotan's," running through May 12. An ode to the Northwest's Nordic communities, the story centers around Wotan, Ruler of Asgard, and his wife Fricka throwing a big dinner party before the end of the world. Their sons, Thor, Balder, and Loki, as well as Freya, the Valkyries, and several other Nordic gods also make an appearance (why not? There's nothing left to lose).
Hosted by Norman Langill, Founder and Artistic Director of Teatro ZinZanni, and Tobias Larsson, co-director and also playing 'Thor,' the free sneak peek was the first of its kind for ZinZanni -- and they hadn't a seat left by 15 minutes to curtain. Inside guests milled around the gift shop and tasted samples from the kitchen while, as an additional treat, Los Excentricos, a trio of accordion-playing clowns from Spain, entertained and frolicked around the tent. Los Excentricos were a part of the original production in 1998 and Langill credits them as part of the inspiration for the creation of Teatro ZinZanni. The trio also have roles in the current show.
Langill came across the fantastic Los Excentricos during his fabled trip to Barcelona, where the inspiration for ZinZanni began. He had stumbled upon what he described as just a simple-looking yurt and when he walked inside, he said it wasn't at all what he expected -- lush velvets, jeweled mirrors, sensual chanteuses, and dazzling acrobats. Sound familiar?
What was most delightful about last night's sneak peek was how the ZinZanni process for such a lavish production was so casually revealed. Storyline, songwriting, props, and costumes were all explained as if you had gone over to a friend's house and he took you into his craft room to show what he had been working on. The behind-the-scenes glimpses were interspersed with musical numbers (of course) that the audience ate up, especially on hearing the familiar "Bohemian Rhapsody" refrain. Lyric soprano Kristin Clayton (San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Theater of Saint Louis) who blew the roof off when she joined in during a performance.
One of the highlights of the evening included a demonstration of one of the props, a bathtub with a hidden, near-silent motor that continuously produces disintegrating glycerin bubbles. Stormy Edwards, the extremely well-spoken production stage manager, explained how the bubbles were custom-designed to be made without water so that they would leave no residue on the floor -- no acrobat wants to juggle or tumble on a slick surface. Not that kind of show. Why a bathtub? You'll just have to head over to the tent to find out.
(But let's hope that it's because Larsson as "Thor" gets in it. Yum.)
Dinner at Wotan's
222 Mercer Street, Seattle
Through May 12, 2013
Select Sunday matinees, 11:30am
Select Wednesdays, 6:30pm
Dinner Show tickets start at $108 (All Ages)
Matinee Show tickets start at $50 youth / $86 adults
Discounts available for seniors, military, and students