On Saturday, some friends and I went to see a "puppet opera" in the ruined chapel at Abney Park Cemetery. Sounds to good to be true, doesn't it?
To quote from the programme:
"In Jokasta, an old, wealthy woman falls in love with a young female puppet, and prays to any god who'll listen to be turned into a puppet herself, that she might spend her remaining time on this earth with her great love.
"It is worth noting that the more traditional fairytale would have her pray for the opposite - for her love to become flesh. Such a prayer would not be one of love, but of acquisition. It would entail the essence of the thing desired taking on a convenient form...
"Anyone can pray for the impossible to alter the world. But to sacrifice one's wealth, one's freedom, and one's very being, not rhetorically, but absolutely, in order to enjoy the love of equals, that is love, if love means anything."
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, particularly walking through the cemetery to the chapel as the sun set, with musicians popping out from behind gravestones as we progressed. Some of my friends found the play a bit slow-moving but I found it rather mesmerizing. And maybe I'm a hopeless Romantic, but it actually made perfect sense to me that the woman wanted to become a puppet rather than have the puppet become a human - that way, the puppet would remain who she fell in love with... Although the fact she was in love with a puppet opens up whole questionable areas of being in love with something passive and subservient...
The production is playing again this Thursday through to Sunday, if you're in London and this post piques your interest. It's worth it just to experience the atmosphere in Abney Park Cemetery after dark, though I wish we'd be able to linger a little longer after the play finished. Instead, we were whisked off to a nearby pub. The compensation was that we got musical accompaniment as we walked through the streets of Stoke Newington, drawing the attention of curious onlookers. My friends and I agreed that it would be quite fun to always have musicians accompanying you as you walked about town!