A eight-foot raven and a huge dangling eyeball will be moved into the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Howard Gilman Opera House Nov. 27-Dec. 8, when experimental director Robert Wilson and rocker Lou Reed present their second collaboration, POEtry. In case you can't instantly parse that title and its very Wilsonian capitalization, the musical is drawn from the stories, poetry and life of writer Edgar Allen Poe.
Reed, who penned the lyrics, music and libretto, incorporated language from 11 Poe works into POEtry. Among the raided works are the poem "The Raven," and the horror tales "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Tell Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado." Some of the characters from these famous pieces of fiction—including the aforementioned raven, "The Raven" protagonist's lost love Lenore, Roderick Usher, and Annabel Lee, the subject of one of Poe's saddest and most beautiful poems—populate the stage, crossing paths with a headless man, a shade from the Catacombs and young and old versions of Poe himself.
POEtry's dialogue is in German, reflected the fact that the project began at Hamburg's Thalia Theater before traveling to BAM's Next Wave Festival. The 12-song score, however, is sung in English, and played by a band featuring a cello, hurdy-gurdy, flute, piano and didgeridoo.
Wilson and Reed previously worked together on Time Rocker, which played BAM in1997.
Jacques Raynaud did the costume and mask design. Heinrich Brunke worked with Wilson on the lighting design. Volker Canaris committed the German text to paper. Tickets are $25-$80. BAM is located at 30 Lafayette Avenue. For more information, call (718) 636-4111.
—By Robert Simonson