Director’s Notes

The new biographical film Maestro opens with Leonard Bernstein’s words – “A work of art does not answer questions, it provokes them; and its essential meaning is in the tension between the contradictory answers.” While Trouble in Tahiti and Service Provider provide snapshots of relationships that are 70 years apart, both pieces raise eerily similar, and rather profound questions. In a world full of distractions, how can we stay genuinely engaged with those we love most? How does the need for societal validation impact our relationships? What impact does materialism and consumerism have on our intimate connections? What defining barriers or forces keep us from sustaining genuine connection in our long-term relationships? 

In Trouble in Tahiti, we find ourselves in an idyllic 1950’s suburbia with Sam and Dinah, a disconnected couple wrestling with their unfulfilling marriage. Both are seemingly devoted to playing the gender roles society has prescribed, at the cost of their relationship. While Sam and Dinah may feel most alone when they are together, they both feel a longing for love and intimacy. In Service Provider, we are whisked into modern day where we meet Autumn and Beau dining al fresco at a boutique restaurant, to celebrate their anniversary. The two struggle to sit with each other and connect, uninterrupted by distractions. Through humor and raucous antics, we see that it doesn’t matter how convincing a couple looks on social media, for you never know what filter has been applied. 

I was instantly excited by the pairing of these two operas. For how different these pieces are, they both expose the distance that can grow between a married couple. Sometimes the gap widens, unbeknownst to us over the course of time, and other times a physical object can get in the way of connection. 

In working with this incredible team of designers, we sought to create one operatic event, rather than two separate productions. We carefully cultivated a world that could best house both narratives. We sought to respect Bernstein’s notes on Trouble in Tahiti, that the piece be “simple, swift, and clear,” and incorporated visual ideas that could also translate to the contemporary aesthetic of Service Provider. We have carefully imagined floating snapshots, real or symbolic, that journey with us from 1950’s suburbia to modern day. 

I have no doubt that, till the end of time, we will be using art to explore the complex inner workings of marriage. Whether a piece intends to instigate deep contemplation or laughter, the forces that keep a couple together and the forces that pull them apart will continue to inspire us to make art of operatic proportions. 

-Kyle Weiler, Director of Trouble in Tahiti and Service Provider

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