Such a Rod Serling-esque legend is ideal for absurdist Wellman, whose libretto extracts the right measure of poetics and politics from Bierce's narrative, extending it into a compelling 80-minute operatic piece told from seven points of view. While Bierce's story tells the tale of a slave owner who simply vanished one day, it is also a metaphor for a nation attempting to erase an ugly past. Wellman finds lucidity in the ludicrousness of human nature through his unique manipulation of sentence structure ("I mean I think today would be the perfect day to drop into the hole of not talking," says one character). He also sets the play to David Lang's "very fast creepy music." With raplike repetition, Wellman emphasizes the significance of the work; the result is less didactic than it is observant. He doesn't blame the slave owner for his heinous crimes so much as he recognizes the crimes we continue to commit by forgetting our history. "We are building a nation," sings the chorus. "We are building an erasure."