Here’s a suggestion for you when you see On the Eve, which has just three more performances (out of just 10 total) this weekend: Sit through the opening number. If you aren’t instantly dazzled by the music, style and energy, bolt. And say a prayer for yourself. Because what Nouveau 47 and Spacegrove Productions are doing over at Fair Park’s Margo Jones Theater inside the Magnolia Lounge is a dazzling bit of stagecraft. But if you don’t like it from the get-go, you never will. And that would be sad.
Sitting in the 50-seat space, watching the likes of Gregory Lush and Jenny Ledel and Seth Magill dash around a stage that looks like a shabby three-ring circus, is as hypnotically captivating as anything I’ve seen in a long while. It feels as if you are at the birth of Spring Awakening or Rent or Godspell, watching magic come to life. You might be compelled to lay frankincense and myrrh at the box office when you leave.
Still, I’ll be damned if I can tell you just what On the Eve is about — because it’s kind of about everything. Does it help to say a time-traveling rock star beds Marie Antoinette just as Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier invent the hot air balloon while a statue comes to life? I didn’t think so. Plot be damned: On the Eve is about nothing short of the creative process itself — the sacrifices and failures and repeated mistakes that infuse every aspect of our lives, and have throughout history, as we try to make an impact on the lives of others. If it sounds heady, it’s anything but.