Listening to "Love and Other Demons" on BBC Radio. It'll be there, free, for the next four days.
In a word: Creepy.
And here are some more words:
Disturbing, strange, good, bad and did I mention strange? I think you really need to see what's going on onstage. The announcer does a good job of describing it scene by scene, so as tempted as I was to skip that, I'm glad I listened to it. How else would I have known about the nuns dipping into pits of mud below the stage to cover themselves with it before climbing onto scaffolding?
I didn't listen as closely to the announcer as I should have because, as usual, I was doing several things at once. So my description here is based partly on the announcer's explanation and partly on the singing, for I could pretty much understand about 90% of the words.
Ok the story is, there's this 12 year old girl, remember the long red hair? So, Act 1. She gets bitten by a dog. Does it have a white spot on its head? Yes it has a white spot. A white spot? Yes, a white spot. Your wound is healing well. You have a fever. The dog with the white spot died of rabies. You probably won't have a scar. Oh but you have a fever. Oops you're not well, you're acting strange, you must be possessed. Into the convent you go for your exorcism.
Here comes Delaura, the 36 year old priest played by, surely you remember, Nathan Gunn. He's there to save her. But... oops. He loves her. Yeah, a bit of a problem on so many levels. End of act 1 we hear him singing, over and over, "Tear the flesh from my bones." Assuming that the bloody self-flagellation scene is playing on the screen. So onscreen he's trying to beat it out of himself. So to speak. Meanwhile, onstage, he's giving into the temptation, or so says the announcer. I so wish there were and at the same time am so glad that there aren't any photos of this floating around online, as far as I know.
So act 2 - You know, they get together again, read some books/poetry together. Dreams of snow covered fields? Bunches of grapes? Not quite sure. Eventually she's crucified to the bed, the muddy nuns keep Delaura away while the bishop performs the exorcism, she dies and goes down into her grave, it's all very confusing and creepy and shrieky and stuff. Apparently the crucifixion did her in before the rabies ran its course. Delaura ends up living out his days in a house for lepers. Nice.
The announcer gives horrifying descriptions of Servia's long red hair being cut from her head, and of people finding it in a crypt or something. There's blood everywhere. Creeeeepy.
Nathan sings from falsetto to super-deep. Like from one word to the next. It was cool, he sounded good, but creepy. The women shriek and scream and sing and shriek and hoot. I think Yoko Ono might have been in the chorus. Creepy stuff.
And if all that weren't enough, I think it was mostly in a minor key. Ouch my brain.
But what's even stranger is, at first I was like, this is awful! But by the end I kind of thought it was pretty cool. I can imagine that seeing it was an amazing, horrifying, creepy, fantastic experience that I'm not sure I would want to have. I have no plans of listening again. But if anyone wants to, it's available here , free, for the next 4 days. By the way, if you do listen, just so you know... it's a little creepy.
Damn. Talk about opera keeping me awake. I hope it does, because if I sleep, I'm likely to have nightmares tonight.