Sunday, May 30, 2010

Theater Review: Nietzsche: The Musical

Unless you have some prior knowledge of Nietzschean philosophy, you probably won't enjoy this musical. In fact, the person who will enjoy it the most is the one who has fully read Nietzsche's magnum opus, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The first act begins with a musical number making fun of how people mispronounce his name, along with many other misconceptions of the famous philosopher; and the act continues to cross between the major events that mold his philosophy later in his life, and modern-day interpretations of his many works:

A Sunday school teacher professes Nietzsche's Zarathustra as being "the Bible" while teaching the metamorphoses of the human soul: the camel becomes the lion becomes the child; these are all becoming the ubermensch. This becomes the theme for the final musical number of the first act. Just to top it off, Nietzsche's characters adds, "this is totally not about Nazis!"

The second act deals more with a, to use my friend's term, "Mars Hill" kind of faith. The teacher from the first act is hounded by a youth pastor named Kyle; he's cool and hip and fucking loves Jesus! Due to the notion of eternal recurrence, Nietzsche crosses paths with the teacher, and they view each other's worlds from different perspectives. I'll be honest, I started to get a little lost during this part of the musical, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

The final message to the audience is presented through a long musical number urging them to become who they are, and not be who they are--an impossibility, it seems. Okay, now it's time to go read some Nietzsche; maybe then it will make some sense to me.

Some better reviews are here and here. Tickets and info are here.

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