jj^it].n54 I CHRONICLESn100nRobert Wilson and child, in Overture to Act IV of Deafman Glance.nwas able to see.”nWhatever that says about the PulitzernPrize committee, it speaks evennmore about Wilson’s reputation. Thenchain of events becomes particularlynludicrous since it’s next to impossiblento review a Wilson work from its scriptnalone—usually there is none, in thenstandard sense.nWilson’s career is also remarkable innview of his background. Born innWaco, Texas, in 1941, he was workingntowards a degree in business administrationnwhen he left the University ofnTexas to study architecture in NewnYork. The architecture degree he subsequentlynreceived from Pratt Institutenproved- perhaps less relevant to hisntheater career than the business acumennrequired to raise the funds for hisnpieces. But neither business nor archi­ntecture would be cited as influential onnhis theatrical concoctions as much asnhis experience with autistic and handicappednchildren (without dwelling onnit, some have related this to his ownnstuttering as a child). In fact, porhonsnof the text for Einstein on the Beach,nwhich some consider the most importantntheater event in our lifetime, werenwritten by an autistic youth.nWilson’s reputation peaked in 1976nwith Einstein, an epic, intermissionless,nfour-and-a-half-hour opera thatnhad two showings only, during itsnAmerican premiere at the MetropolitannOpera House in New York. (Previously,nit was performed in France,nItaly, Yugoslavia, German, Belgium,nand Holland.) In retrospect, that unusuallynlimited exposure proved sufficientnto form what can only be sum­nnnmarized as a cult surrounding thenevent. As Samuel Lipman has observednsince, it “managed, in two 1976nperformances … to enter into thenconsciousness of artistically knowingnNew Yorkers. A measure of the famenthe work has gained with the passing ofntime is that so many people now claimnto have been present that these performancesnmust have been given, not atnthe Met, but at Madison SquarenGarden.”nThe Einstein legend received renewednlife when the Brooklyn Academynof Music (that bastion of the avantgarde)nproduced a replica revival inn1984. A PBS hour-long documentary,nbased on the BAM production and firstnbroadcast in January 1986, played nonsmall part in extending Wilson’s fame.nBut as one critic noted at the time, thenPBS offering “is a compromise: a souvenirnfor those who know the work, annartfully constructed sample for thosenwho don’t.” At best, it inadvertentlynuncovered the greatest irony concerningnWilson. At the height of our technologicalnevolution, here is Wilsonn— a maestro of avant-garde theaternwho has introduced a level of technologynpreviously unknown to the stage,nyet is limited precisely by the nontechnological,nephemeral nature of hisnchosen medium.nBut Wilson’s works are limited asnwell by the inordinate resources andnfunding they usually demand. To returnnto The CIVIL WarS as a case innpoint, it was conceived in the earlyn80’s as a 12-hour extravaganza, consistingnof six segments. (Wilson originallynschemed a 16-hour work, whichnis less outrageous than it sounds, innview of an earlier work that took threendays to perform.) Originally, it was tonenlist six different countries to produce,nfinance, and execute each part,nbefore bringing it together for the firstntime during the Olympic Arts Festivalnin Los Angeles in 1984.nBut even after it had been paredndown to eight hours with additionalncuts pending, the five million dollarsnthat had been raised proved insufficientnto realize the Los Angeles project.nThe world premiere of the completenwork was abandoned amidstnmuch controversy. It resurfaced lastnfall in Austin, scheduled as part ofnTexas’ 150th anniversary, but oncenagain the 6.2 million dollar budgetn