LOS ANGELES -- Closed since the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Royce Hall, the main concert venue for the UCLA Center for the Performing Arts, will reopen to theatre audiences on Apr. 15 with the world premiere engagement of Monsters of Grace 1.0, a collaboration by designer/director Robert Wilson and composer Philip Glass, who collaborated on the groundbreaking 1976 production of Einstein on the Beach.
Technology and art meld together in Monsters of Grace 1.0, a computer-generated, stereoscopic 3-D opera that uses no live-on-stage actors or singers.
The title, incidentally, comes from an early point in the three years Wilson and Glass colloborated on the show's conception. Wilson was performing in his one-man version of Hamlet and complained to Glass that he always misspoke the line about "ministers of grace". Glass suggested to using Wilson's flubbed line as the title, punning themselves as Monsters of Grace. Although renowned for his theatre pieces, Wilson has made previous ventures into film, including his 1985 film Stations and his early '70s BYRDWOMAN.
Wilson's production of Wagner's Lohengrin (still running at The Metropolitan Opera), caused a sensation when audience members booed and jeered Wilson at the opening night curtain call.
Besides his collaborations with Wilson, Glass has an extensive theatre background -- including being a founding member of the avant-garde troupe, Mabou Mines. Glass' film score for Martin Scorcese's Kundun is nominated for an 1998 Oscar Award. "The work we are making is shaping itself by the magic of chance," said Glass. "We made Einstein this way, talking through ideas, hitting on the visual and musical themes and letting our instincts run with the wind."
Commissioned by the UCLA Center for the Performing Arts, Monsters of Grace will run through Apr. 30 at Royce Hall, which was built in 1929 and is renowned for its Romanesque architecture and stately towers, fashioned after a bulding in Italy. The structure, which houses classrooms, offices and the 1,828-seat auditorium, was refurbished in 1984.
The earthquake damage necessitated a complete seismic renovation, completed over a four-year period. Technical improvements include updated acoustics and stage machinery and a new lighting system to enhance the ornamental detail of the original coffered ceiling.
All performances are at 8 PM, except Sundays at 7 PM. Tickets are $35 with 3-D glasses provided at the door, call (310) 825-2101.