“Here Lies Love” at Seattle Rep

Theatre for the twenty-first century! Theatre where technology meets tradition! Theatre like none other I’ve seen in Seattle. With “Here Lies Love” Seattle Rep has taken an enormous and very expensive risk, and I’m awfully glad they did.

The Rep has turned much of the theatre into a dance club, taken out the raked seats traditionally part of the orchestra, erected a series of platforms at the sides and in the middle of the now enormous central space, and created a sound and light show to equal that of the most amazing club or Key Arena concert. But know that this is not only a sound and light show. It’s the story of Imelda Marcos and her rise to power on the coattails of her perfidious husband.

There’s no “third wall” for the patrons who have floor tickets. Those ticket holders stand, move around the space, dance in place if they want, swivel their hips, and take in the staged action that surrounds them, swaying to the terrific music, immersed in the production and the story.

For those who choose to sit through the 90-minute show, balcony seats are available which of course provide the same high-energy drama, music and dazzling light show, but without the intimacy of the downstairs.

Amazingly, while all the glitz, light and sound effects overwhelm the theatre, the story of Imelda’s rise and its contrast to the poverty of most of the population of the Philippines provides the arc and ties the whole production together. There’s history here. Even President Richard Nixon makes an appearance.

This David Byrne and Fatboy Slim award-winning concoction first opened Off-Broadway in 2013. It then went on to great success in London in 2015. The Seattle production is under the direction of Alex Timbers who took on the same role in New York and London. Most of the cast is original as are the wonderful costumes, the lighting and sound.

Seattle Rep’s Artistic Director, Braden Abraham, and Managing Director, Jeffrey Herrmann, really stretched to bring this remarkable show to Seattle. It won’t be quickly forgotten.

Through May 28, at Seattle Repertory Theatre 155 Mercer St., Seattle, 206 443-2222 or Seattlerep.org.

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