Saturday, March 19, 2011

From message from Belle to My Friend in Finland, 17 March 2011

... It's actually a bit late here where I am, nearly 11, I'm back from the theatre, that is, a screening of a time-delayed filming of
a performance of a National Theatre (London) production of a new play,
Frankenstein, based on the Mary Shelley novel. I wasn't as familiar with the metaphor as I might have been going into it - so thought of the latest Japanese disaster unfolding in terms of "monsters of human creation turning to overwhelm us with a vengeance." Well, there is always that problem, of course. But after having seen this Frankenstein, I see now how truly human/humanist a story it is, a sort of through-a-glass-darkly Adam & Eve - God you who made us complex human beings with souls why have you seemingly forsaken us?

The production was astonishing. The opening scene showed the newly hatched, embryonic creature - played by an actor, a man -
very agile, physically, very spastically and spasmodically finding its sea legs as it finds itself born, thrust out, cast henceforward to make its way outside the womb. The creature's - the man's - the actor's - naked, raw, spastic, contorted movements were highly expressionistic - visually they reminded me (I think?) of Francis Bacon paintings...

I am very interested to learn more about the poet Uuno Kailas... Well, he was a poet - that is saying a lot, it seems to need saying these days. It's funny, in the music elements in the Frankenstein production, a sort of vague, ethereal quasi-vocal, quasi-instrumental, electronic atmospheric musical effect seemed to keep intoning the word "po-em, po-em, po-em" as if it was a solution somehow to the creature's problems, or what he was searching for. Which is what I believe, actually, though perhaps it was a bit obviously stated ...

Francis Bacon, Paralytic Child on All Fours (from Muybridge), 1961, oil on canvas, 198 x 142 cm., Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands

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