Einstein on the Beach at BAM! It’s the culture nerd event of the season – opera with minimalist score, minimalist dance, minimalist staging and no plot, dialogue, beginning or end.
How to see it for free Show up at around 8pm and just walk into the theater. Stand near the back. They stop checking tickets after it starts at 7pm and because it is meant to be this marathon “just walk around and take a break whenever” event, they weren’t policing it on opening night. We went out for a burger during Act 2. We also took many breaks at the open bar (first night and last night only).
How to see it without falling asleep It is super long and every scene is basically a visual poem, not a narrative. So the long bits you should just skip. I used this guide in planning my attack: http://www.culturebot.net/2012/09/14315/the-culturebot-guide-to-einstein-on-the-beach/
And here is what we did – show up at 7. The thing has already soft started. You see the first white box set Knee Play and the Act 1, Scene 1 Train and then the start of Act 1, Scene 2 the Trial. – walk out at 8pm during the trial. It is slow. You miss the rest of the Trial and the next Knee Play – come back at 9pm in the middle of Field Dance that starts Act 2 – then leave again around 9:15pm, miss the rest of Act 2 Night Train and Knee Play three – return somewhere during Trial/Prison around 10:15pm – enjoy Building – which looks like the Midtown Tunnel ventilation building in Long Island City – and its zany saxophone – enjoy Bed – which is when the bar of light dances – rock out to the Spaceship which is the iconic “Hollywood Squares” set