new-york

Ridge Theater

Alice Tully Hall

Slides, flickering films, supertitles, and John Moran’s alternately soothing and tension-provoking music provided a kaleidoscopic visual and aural background for Ridge Theater’s new operatic drama The Manson Family at the “Serious Fun!” festival. Under the direction of Bob McGrath, the production managed to deal with the disturbing deeds of Charles Manson and his “family” on a substantive level. By interlacing details of the story with aspects of the once-popular television series Hawaii Five-O, Moran and McGrath not only addressed the way in which events are exploited by mainstream media, but explored the seductive appeal such sensationalism exerts. By duplicating these exploitative devices, the performance ultimately invited the viewer to consider the appeal of Charles Manson himself.

Much of Manson’s allure depended upon his facility with language, a fact that is conveyed throughout the

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