Once upon a time I forgot my earphones and I was on the travellator between the jubilee and the northern lines at the Waterloo Station. There were so many people walking but I couldn’t hear any human noise. An immense and unreal silence wrapped me and suddenly I was in another world – a place where large tubes underneath the earth moved frozen people from one point to another. We were statues that would come back to life in the end of the travellator. I had never listened to such silence. Humans immersed in their own world. Don’t you think that today we live in a permanent fairy-tale (and I’m not speaking about politics… hmmm yes I could… but no). It’s true! Aren’t we permanently engaged in a non-existing world of virtual friends from all over the world and don’t we change our shape to please or entertain them with the help of that magic wand that we carry in our pocket? Can’t we be dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking emoji’s, trolls, unicorns, witches, and use magic or enchantments? The last time I directed a fairy-tale opera (five years ago) I asked in a note like this to the audience “What happens to us as we get older that makes us forget how good it is to fly?” I could today reply to that same question… the gravitational force of the digital world is just too strong to let me fly as a kid does with just a fish on his hand (in fact the fish is a balloon but he pretends not to know about it).
Once upon a time there was an abandoned slaughterhouse that had animals swaying… those in fact weren’t animals but trees. As we all know we will return as trees again. Yes, we are animals and the trees are some sort of tombs where we are reborn. The message from The Beatles alternative album cover for “Yesterday & Today” was completely misunderstood because baby dolls and meat shouldn’t be mixed together, yes there’s a rule for that. Didn’t you know? Sometimes we can look at an image of a deer skeleton hanging on a tree and think it’s a horrible thing to do to an animal but we don’t read the note where we learn that in fact the deer got stuck on the tree branch during a forest fire. Life can trick us into thinking things that should be like we want them to be… but hey-ho life always finds a way to fuck us once again.
Once upon a time there was a company that makes old stories into new ones that challenge us. For the staging of this fairy-tale I was especially inspired by the audience that reads this text. Yes, I spend some of my time just observing you 😉 … (I felt the need to put a wink there for you not to think that I’m stalking you… but that just made it worse… strikethrough please)… Yes, I love to observe you especially, for example, when on a Thursday evening you run out of the office in your suit and your light blue shirt (I like to call it fairy-tale-blue because since the beginning of time all the innocent characters seem to enjoy wearing it), or when you leave your house in a hurry to buy milk in you pyjamas, or when you look at your phone while I’m trying to have a conversation with you (not at you). It’s so easy to not be understood when we just don’t listen. It’s so easy to not understand someone when we just forgot how to connect. It’s so easy to assume things before actually trying to understand them… Maybe it’s just because we think we don’t have time. Stop. Listen. Engage. Release. Thank you.
(Image credit: Altered books, by Isobelle Ouzman)