Four minutes into the Act I rehearsal, a “Spider-Man” crew member announced on his mic, “We’re gonna hold.” It was the first of several pauses to deal with technical glitches, mostly in transitions between scenes. By the dinner break, only 15 minutes of the two-and-a-half-hour show had unfolded. And the first scheduled performance (this Sunday at 6:30 p.m.) was just eight days away.
In the last week, the nervous creators of the show, the most expensive in Broadway history, have begun to see the hand-drawn sketches, the digitally animated videos, the comic-book-inspired costumes come to life — to see “Spider-Man” finally, literally, take flight.
“Creating art that has never been done before is the reason I get out of bed in the morning,” said Bono, leaning forward in Row A on the aisle, as Reeve Carney, playing Spidey, rehearsed onstage. “This feels like it.”
Yet time is running out.
At the creators’ last dinner on Friday night before Bono and the Edge left for a U2 tour in Australia, Bono said bluntly that the show “won’t get out of the gate” and have a chance to catch on with audiences if technical problems persist, as they have in rehearsals.
Still, he and the others did not dwell on mundane matters like flying harnesses. They are all artists who dream big, who compare the show’s themes to great literature and philosophy.
“We’re wrestling with the same stuff as Rilke, Blake, ‘Wings of Desire,’ Roy Lichtenstein, the Ramones — the cost of feeling feelings, the desire for connections when you’re separate from others,” Bono continued. “If the only wows you get from ‘Spider-Man’ are visual, special-effect, spectacular-type wows, and not wows from the soul or the heart, we will all think that we’ve failed.”
There you have it: Why I Hate Bono, despite all his good works.
And by the way, I heard a radio segment this morning on this show, where they played an audio snippet. It sounded like a high school kid trying to sound like Bono. "Creating art that has never been done before"? Is that why every U2 song sounds like every other U2 song?
Oh the humanity.
And the two and a half hours of sheer exhilaration that is Fela! is closing January 2.
There is no God.