A Deal with the Devil in ‘Black Rider’ — What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

The cast of the Black Rider at the Shotgun Players in Berkeley

The cast of the Black Rider at the Shotgun Players in Berkeley (Photo: Courtesy of Shotgun Players)

The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets is Christmas counter-programming at its best. Based on a bleak German folktale, it tells the story of how Wilhelm makes a deal with the devil to become a hunter and win the hand of his beloved, and how things go wrong from there. As my co-host Jeffrey Edalatpour says, if Bright Star (at the Curran) is an affirmation of family and marriage, Black Rider is its infernal opposite: a declaration that the devil’s going to hunt you down.

The Black Rider has a complicated history. Beat-era writer William S. Burroughs wrote the book, Sonoma’s Tom Waits did the songs, and it was staged by avant-garde director Robert Wilson. Mark Jackson directs this Shotgun production as a kind of circus sideshow. The songs are especially striking under the musical guidance of David Möschler of the Awesome Orchestra.  And actress Grace Ng is brilliant as Wilhelm — a role that emphasizes her physical and emotional range. Details here

A Deal with the Devil in ‘Black Rider’ — What Could Possibly Go Wrong? 6 December,2017Cy Musiker

Author

Cy Musiker

Cy Musiker co-hosts The Do List and covers the arts for KQED News and The California Report.  He loves live performance, especially great theater, jazz, roots music, anything by Mahler. Cy has an MJ from UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism, and got his BA from Hampshire College. His work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists with their Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Journalism. When he can, Cy likes to swim in Tomales Bay, run with his dog in the East Bay Hills, and hike the Sierra.

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