September 7, 2009
Saturday night I was lucky enough to be invited to see American Idiot the punk rock opera by Green Day at Berkeley Rep. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea what the performance would about until I walked up to the theatre and assessed the scene. I know Berkeley Rep always hits home runs and this one was bound to be out of the park.
From the moment we walked into the theatre we could feel the vibe. The audience was total hipsters - and we blended well, if I do say so myself. When the curtain rose our draws dropped. What a set! At least three stories high and the backdrop was covered with words, images and dotted with TV monitors. The action started immediately and never stopped. For the entire opera there was accelerated action over every inch as actors sang, danced and flew across the set - often highlighted with unbelievable lighting techniques. We were continuously blown away.
As far as the story line, this was told nearly 100% through lyrics with minimal straight dialog. We agreed we would have to see it again to figure out exactly what they were saying. Another option is just reading the lyrics from the Green Day album from which most of the songs originated.
As the actors took their bows the audience jumped to their feet and gave them a standing ovation. This show has got to be headed for touring and we're lucky we caught it in previews!