Saturday, 2 March 2013

Yesterday I acted my socks off.  Quite literally.

(I do apologise that I am writing again so soon after my previous (probably rather odd-seeming) musically mystical offering, but hey.  How often do you get to spout such a line?  Couldn't resist.)

This has all to do with my character in Eugene Onegin.  We (the director and I - more about him later) have had such fun with her.  I have been through a gradual descent into dementia, made all the more mind-bending by taking place within a journey that replicates another...

He's set the beginning of the opera in a train journey to St Petersburg that takes place after most of Acts I and II, when the family moves to St Petersburg.   I start off very uncertain and forgetful, wandering along the train in search of.. the loo?  The past?  Whatever.  The future is utterly uncertain, the present very insecure, grabbing hold of at least the certainties represented by (in my character's case) a samovar - the only way to make the past something remembered and solid.

And then the layers of memory kick in, and, wandering unsafe and uncertain (and probably still looking for the toilet!), she sees Lensky and Onegin...  The past comes to the fore once again, everything returns to the crystal clarity of what she's currently seeing... we're in the past/present (and if we're of a philosophical or over-thinking bent, we're buggered once again).

In this opera I had assumed from what was written that I would be out of the picture pretty much by the end of the first act.  Which is when my singing role comes to an end.  Nope.  Carry on, much wandering around in my nightie etc.  Well, fair enough.  Thought I'd got a promise that I was DEFINITELY dead by the time the family had reached St Petersburg in the third act, however (this would have perhaps released me to bow, after the première, after the break, therefore getting to tootle home at least an hour before the others!),

Turned out, yes I did indeed die , but I still have to wander (once!) across the stage.  As a ghost.  And in the slow, slow movement, reach out once to lightly touch Tatjana - and remind her with an invisible frisson that she has no-one in whom to really confide any more.

Except, ohhhh the WRONGNESS of crumpled socks when you're a ghost.  Tried it once, then went to the director and asked if I couldn't do this being-dead thing barefoot and upright, practising gliding along etc etc.  And the director agreed.  Wonderful.  Hence acting my socks off :-)

(The socks in question are hand-knitted, most likely by one of the prompters here, who always has knitting needles in hand.  As I have never knitted a sock in my life and have no intention of starting, I present a photo of a very weird pair of gloves under construction. They were for my mother at Christmas and I was making them up as I went along.  I can tell you that crocheting gloves is a jolly strange business, when you have no pattern...)

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