For over 30 years, Frederick Wiseman has found and filmed the drama of everyday life. Now, he’s adapting his work to the most dramatic outlet available.
Welfare: The Opera will stage Wiseman’s powerful 1975 doc about people struggling within New York’s public assistance program. The set will feature screens with scenes from the original doc, as well as footage shot by Wiseman during the opera. ‘The idea was to have someone on stage making a doc during the performance of the documentary,’ says Wiseman. ‘It’s a self parody of doc filmmaking. In my sick mind, I thought this was funny. And, it unifies the disparate events.’
The opera was set to open in New York on May 27, however, American Opera Projects, the show’s producer, claimed lack of funding and backed out of the us$150,000 production. Wiseman is now looking for new partners. ‘I’m too busy making films to be the producer,’ he says.