The Dreams of Nebuchadnezzar is my second Fringe (click for show times) review. The show is written by Jesse Krause and features him, along with the Riel Gentlemen’s Choir, and Sara Clefstad. The show is based on the book of Daniel chapters 1-7. If you have the time, I would encourage a read through of these chapters before taking in the show.
I was looking forward to this show, because I had also attended Krause’s show David and Jonathan. The shows are similar in that both contain Krause’s unique instruments, and are choral works. What differentiates this show is the visual elements.
The choir makes use of pieces of wood, and various fabric creations to create the images of statues and trees, essential to the story.
The Dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, as recorded in Daniel, are dark,and troubling episodes. The singing really captures this well. It is not so much discord, as music that captures the dark emotions and actions. Particularly so in describing the caprices and terrors of Nebuchadnezzar as the king.
While there are some additional lyrics supplied by Krause and George William Russel, the vast majority are lifted from the Biblical text. It’s worthnoting that the texts are not taken in order. As you are listening you will realize that later chapters are interpolated into earlier chapters.
Dreams Come true, unfortunately.
The climax of the show, is Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream becoming reality. In this section, Ms Clefstad, clad in a long red dress, wielding a sledge hammer, gives the impression of prophetic fire bringing destruction in her wake.
After the frenzied destruction of the tree, we are left with the simple statement that Nebuchadnezzar awakes to find that the dream as interpreted by Daniel has been fulfilled. It almost appears as a mercy to Nebuchadnezzar.
The piece ends with a short reflection from Ecclesiastes. A commentary on life, power and it’s futility.
A final note. Although only involved for a short part o fthe show Ms. Clefstad’s performance is outstanding. The part she is required to sing is challenging covering a wide vocal range. She handles this with ease.
This is definitely a show to see, especially if you like having your imagination engaged.