Written by: Saint Bryan
“Here Lies Love” is a musical about the life of Filipina first lady Imelda Marcos. Yes the multi-millionaire --still living-- who once owned more than a thousand pairs of shoes.
So we had to ask first : why Imelda Marcos?
“That doesn't seem obvious?” laughs David Byrne who wrote the musical with DJ Fatboy Slim. “A disco musical about Imelda Marcos?”
Byrne has never done the obvious. As a member of Talking Heads he sang the oddest songs you'd hear on the radio. Since then he's recorded more albums, written books and become one of New York City's most famous bike riders.
Fascinated by what makes people tick, Byrne learned years ago that Imelda Marcos loved disco.
“She'd go to Studio 54,” he says. “ She turned the roof of the Manila Palace into a dance club. And I thought 'Wow she's got the music going around her all the time. I wonder if there's a story there’.”
There is a story of the rags to riches variety. Imelda Marcos came from the poor side of a good family.
“She was brought in to serve the tea to the other people so she was like a poor relative,” says Byrne.
There might be an obvious way to do a musical about the rise and fall of Imelda Marcos. This isn't it.
Audience members are invited to dance right in the middle of the action. During runs in New York and London, tickets were nearly impossible to find.
“We've never done anything like this at the Seattle Rep,” says Seattle Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Braden Abraham. “We're changing the whole configuration. We're taking out seats.We're decking over that part of the theater.We're putting a giant dance club in the middle of the theater and a lot of the audience will be part of the stage. They'll be standing in the middle with the action all around them.”
Now everyone has a chance to learn more about one of the world's most famous woman.
“You feel for somebody who has great empathy for the kind of downtrodden masses,” says Byrne. “ (who says) ‘I know what you're feeling! I know what you're feeling!’ at the same time she is living this kind of larger than life luxurious lifestyle.”
"Here Lies Love" opens at the Seattle Rep Friday, April 7 and runs through May 28.Tickets are still available but they're going fast. For the full immersive experience you want floor tickets which can run between $110 and $120 a person.