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Waiting for Godzilla is less absurdist angst than its Beckett namesake and more operatic B-movie fantasy. In fact, the piece, by famed composer and singer Randall Wong, is billed as a “miniature opera in three parts,” which means lots of enchantment and baroque flourishes rather than empty vistas pulsing with sad apathy. There's no monster-movie mayhem here; the performance seeks to render Godzilla in his original incarnation in the 1954 Gojira, a skillful meditation on the horror of post-war society and anxiety over the destruction of Japan's very infrastructure. The performance presents itself as a tell-all from the dinosaur hybrid's perspective. Rather than presenting him as an otherworldly behemoth intent on wreaking vengeance, Waiting for Godzilla casts our scaly protagonist as a tragic hero pining for the love of the indifferent Mothra (his fluttery erstwhile adversary). It may sound like pure kitsch, but the addition of live instruments, an originally composed libretto, puppeteers in the Japanese bunraku tradition (which means you get to see them moving their puppets rather than just imagine the shadowy manipulators), and stunning visual stagecraft in the form of intricate screens and stages enable the piece to transcend its seemingly twee constraints.
May 2-11, 8 p.m., 2008

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