Review: In ‘Upload,’ Do Blockchains Dream of Electric Lizards?

When briefly in a “paused state,” the Father realizes that one thing failed within the add; it ought to have suppressed the trauma of his spouse’s dying however didn’t, dooming him to grieve her for eternity. He desires to be terminated, an irreversible motion that may solely be carried out by his daughter.

If that dilemma doesn’t really feel completely compelling or earned, it’s as a result of the Daughter is rarely correctly developed. She is launched as interested in her father’s new kind, however it’s troublesome to think about anybody feeling greater than shock or anger in her place. As an alternative, she is proven solely in numerous states of mourning. (And this is likely to be too New York-centric a fixation, however how on earth can this younger girl afford to dwell in an ethereal TriBeCa penthouse with a backyard terrace?)

Possibly it’s for the very best, then, that we by no means see her choice. The parallel tales arrive at parallel endings: the previous, the night time earlier than the Father’s add, and the current, the night time earlier than his probably termination. In a shocking coup de théâtre, a white curtain springs out, suspended over the viewers. On it are the Father and Daughter projected in break up display. Though at reverse ends of the stage, even totally different planes of existence, they’re introduced as if mendacity head-to-head.

As they drift into sleep, we’re left with the Father’s Reminiscence Anchor, a dream rendered digitally — the inexperienced of the earth too inexperienced, the blue of the sky too blue. All the pieces we’ve heard about is there: the stone, sizzling to the contact, a lizard at relaxation. However the picture often sparkles, defaulting to the 3-D line drawings of drafting software program, till the decision degrades into delicate fields of shade. Solely the sounds of breeze and birdsong stay.

It’s a mysterious closing scene, however not one which requires any solutions. Regardless of what occurs subsequent, somebody might be compelled to dwell with the ache of loss. And no expertise, it appears, can spare us that basically human expertise.

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By Oct. 8 on the Dutch Nationwide Opera, Amsterdam; operaballet.nl.

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