THE EXAGOGE (2020)
for Soprano, Tenor, Bass
An Opera-Theater Event on a script by Edward Einhorn
Duration: 90 minutes min.
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The Exagoge is an opera-theater event, inspired by a 2nd Century play by Ezekiel the Tragedian, a Hellenistic Jew in Alexandria who wished to portray the legend of the Exodus in a drama inspired by the Greek tragedies. The opera is reconstructed by the fragments recorded by historians from the time. It mixes Judaism and paganism in a seeming attempt to present Jewish stories in the same light as the pagan legends usually portrayed by Greek drama. Its base narrative is the well known story of Moses and the Exodus, using three singers to portray Moses (tenor), his wife Tzipporah (soprano), and a third singer (baritone) who portrays the Pharoah, Tzipporah’s father, a messenger, and God. The soprano will also be used for the character of God, blending at times with the baritone.
2 male actors, 1 female actor
2 male singers, 1 female singer
EZEKIEL (ZEKE) – The composer/librettist of The Exagoge.
AVRAHAM – his father, a professor of Jewish History
ALIYA – his girlfriend, a librarian and a non-practising Muslim
TZIPPORA (Soprano) – Moses’ wife. Also one of the singers for GOD
PHAROAH, REUEL, MESSENGER, GOD (Baritone)
Note on the set
The main set piece of this show is a large table. The opera scenes will be performed on top of the table. The other scenes, which I’ll call the play, will be performed around the table. The three actors in the play should be sitting alongside audience members who have agreed to participate. Those audience members will be served food, and they will be asked to read from a provided Haggadah and sing along when possible. Some limited food should also be provided to the rest of the audience. The whole production should feel like not just a theatrical event, but a Passover Seder, in which the audience has been invited to participate
The work as a whole examines the idea of art and blasphemy in religious context, as well as cultural assimilation and appropriation.