I don’t believe The Devil has ever made anyone do anything. We are each 100% responsible for our own actions. This thing we call "The Devil" is a metaphor for any impulses we’d rather not admit to having. That age-old myth of "The Deal With The Devil," given form by countless artists—Bulgakov, Goethe, whoever wrote The Bible—is likewise a metaphor for the bargains we make with ourselves, participating in systems we don’t believe in, gambling away our integrity for the sake of our desires.
The three unique artists behind BLACK RIDER—William S. Burroughs, Tom Waits, and Robert Wilson—created a modern fairytale nightmare for adults that broods on the powerful and pervasive patriarchy. Like all truly great artists, this trio made no attempt to assume answers, favoring the audience’s imaginations instead and content to let us be responsible for our own interpretations. Maybe this open quality is why BLACK RIDER has been revived so often since it premiered in Hamburg, Germany, back in 1990. Maybe this is also why the show can be as unsettling as it is entertaining. Or maybe it’s unsettling because it entertains. In that respect alone it's a peculiarly American take on the traditional European fairytales that inspired it.
The last thing I’ll say is to simply acknowledge that when Shotgun Players produced BLACK RIDER, we found our country in a very particular place with regard to its systems and assumptions about gender and race, among other aspects of our American culture. Considering that, I did hope the production would unsettle and entertain, and the general response seemed to indicate both had happened in a variety of ways. I don’t expect any production to change the world, or America. That’s not the role of art anyway. That's our role as citizens, making our own choices—not just when interpreting a musical or in key Novembers, but every single day. And when the sun is threatening to set, and a crow clutching a nearby branch has its eye on us, do we truly value our integrity over our desires? The crow knows.