Many readers had complimented me on the accuracy with which my book had ‘caught the period’, to which I was too grateful and too polite to respond by asking how could they possibly know

October 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

… what I find so remarkable about Potter’s Carmen is that: if we’re thinking of red corpuscles, and at the same time the whole drama of the story, these are on two very different scales. She realises this in the way that she uses the video projections in the first Act. When you see the real Jose, he’s like a tiny little detail in a painting, and across the rest of the stage is a screen with these huge projections, which concern feelings which are as large as a continent. Potter plays with scale all the time. In the third act, with the incredible invention of the elevated glass bridge that spans the stage, which at a certain moment becomes as narrow as a horizon… all the time she is playing with scale: what’s small but near, huge but far away.

That quality of cinema is in a way the opposite of a theatrical spectacle, its quality of going very close to a body or a face, so that it becomes very intimate. At the same time because it is projected on that grey silk screen, it has something of the sky, of the measureless, about it, so that you have a strange juxtaposition of extreme close-up, such as can only occur in an intimate relation, and this galactic quality of the sky. And it seems to me that Potter’s production does exactly that: the smallness of a blood corpuscle and the vastness of the desires and longings and fears that the human body can experience, and it plays between those in all kinds of ways all the time – so it is the exact opposite of an elaborate wedding cake spectacle which old-fashioned opera could resemble.  read more

ART [detail]: Zoe Beloff

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