A bit of genius: Wagner’s Ring Cycle as a professional wrestling epic.
The Metropolitan Opera’s blockbuster production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle may be eliciting pity applause uptown, but a very different new staging of the epic saga in the East Village is earning its performers loud cheers and high-fives from the audience. Performance Lab 115’s “The Ring Cycle (Parts 1-4),” at the Incubator Arts Project through April 29, transfers Wagner’s mashup of German, Scandinavian, and Norse myths from Valhalla to a WWF-style wrestling mat. The opera’s bellowing gods are now the lords of a different ring — outfitted with ‘80s fright wigs and loud costumes of glittering Spandex — who settle their age-old scores in elaborately choreographed fake fights. Improbable though the shift of setting may seem, writers Jeremy Beck and Dave Dalton (who also directs) remain tirelessly faithful to Wagner’s original, and their obvious reverence for the material, combined with an indefatigable cast, make the unconventional adaptation a chest-thumping success.