When the curtain lifted for Bohemia at the Triple Door Sunday night, I had no idea what to expect. The only thought I had in my head was “something to do with burlesque.” So ignorant was I that I turned to my dinner companion and asked, “Is Bohemia even a real place?” Go ahead, laugh! But from then on, I got a wonderful, thorough and psychedelic education mixed with some tantalizing entertainment at the Triple Door.
Before I say anything more, it should be known that I really like classical music. Even more than any pop station, when I’m behind the wheel of my old beat-up Impala, it’s 98.1 FM careening on the stereo. Mozart’s Requiem in D is one of my favorite records and Brahms, especially when played by Yo-Yo Ma, is cherished. I also love drinking. So the music and overall concept of Bohemia – a composer’s writer’s block and subsequent cannonball dive into a bottle of absinth – hit me in the sonic sweet spot.
Conceived by Mark Siano and Opal Peachey – and fueled by “an absinth and Chopin brand vodka binge through Prague” – Bohemia tracks the quest for the perfect signature melody for Antonin Dvorák’s (played by Siano) much-anticipated 9th Symphony. Faced with little recognition and much frustration, Dvorák is stuck. But what better way to find inspiration than at the bottom of a bottle of absinth? The show, which is spiced with ghosts of other famous Czech artists, stellar choreography and enough beautiful bodies to titillate any audience, ensues.
With one intermission, and a multitude of attractive scenes, Bohemia celebrates “the art nouveau of the 1890s and the music of that era,” says Siano. “We thought it’d be a risky endeavor. But Bohemia selling out [over the weekend] is a pleasant surprise.” And while one might not think first of a musical based around classical music when thinking of weekend plans, Bohemia shines – especially if accentuated by a glass of the anise-flavored alcohol known for dreamy-electric inspirations. It’s the kind of challenging and thoughtful theater the city is best at. Now I know.