Accepting your dark side

Opera Philadelphia presents David T. Little’s Black Lodge

1 minute read
A person dressed in a beige suit sits in a chair by a CRT TV with a white screen, a plant in the dimly lit background
‘Black Lodge’ returns to the silver screen this weekend. (Photo by Matthew Soltesz.)

After originally premiering in October 2022 at the Philadelphia Film Center, David T. Little’s new “industrial opera film” Black Lodge will be screened in multiple theaters in the region on Saturday, January 21. Produced by Beth Morrison Projects and Opera Philadelphia, Black Lodge focuses on a writer (actor and musician Timur) currently trapped in a mysterious and frightening Bardo space, locked “between death and rebirth.” The writer must confront the woman (Jennifer Harrison Newman) who haunts his afterlife, as well as face his regrets and increasingly troubled memories of his existence.

The surreal, fantastical opera is influenced by the work of novelist William Burroughs, while the title is a homage to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. A graduate of Opera Philadelphia, Little’s other operas include Soldier Songs and JFK. The composer says Black Lodge comes from more easily perceiving the dark side of life as a child. Little commented, “The process of creating Black Lodge was one of accepting that part of myself: of exploring that darkness, traveling through it in hopes that there would be something beautiful, even transcendent, on the other side.”

This new opera was developed and produced over 10 years with Anne Waldman, herself a famed experimental poet, working on the libretto. Waldman was attracted to how the project “highlights the sense of existential dilemma for the artist in a world of contradiction and personal upheaval.” Finally, the story, screenplay, and direction of the movie version of Black Lodge was taken on by filmmaker Michael Joseph McQuilken.

What, When, Where

Black Lodge. Music by David T. Little, libretto by Anne Waldman, screenplay by Michael Joseph McQuilken. Presented by Opera Philadelphia. $10-$20. Saturday, January 21, 2023, at 1pm, at Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Colonial Theatre, County Theater, Ambler Theater, and Princeton Garden Theatre. (215) 732-8400 or


All venues are ADA-accessible in all theaters and restrooms. Be sure to check individual theaters for additional information and resources.

Bryn Mawr Film Institute and Colonial Theatre offer assistive listening devices.

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