A novel experience
Book, film, opera... now see the ballet of that agonising choice. Jann Parry reports for The Observer.
How can dance deal with untruth? Film audiences understand that flashbacks may be misleading and dream sequences pure fantasy, but balletgoers still expect to be told a story from a single (true) perspective, joining up the dots from A to B to C.
Choreographers do their best to give clues that all may not be what it seems, mostly through their choice of music and design. Their greatest aide, though, is film or video. Projected images provide a vital layer of illusion, as Terry Braun showed in his film contribution to Cathy Marston's Sophie. As part of a new Opera House scheme, ROH2, Marston was commissioned to create a ballet for the Linbury Studio downstairs, inspired by the same Sophie's Choice novel (by William Styron) as Nicholas Maw's opera for the main stage.
Marston distilled Sophie's saga into the heroine's haunting by her Auschwitz past as she chooses to end her life. Antonia Franceschi as Sophie seemed to embrace and reject ghosts of her younger self, clutching at shadows. click for more
David Dougill for The Sunday Times
ROH2 is the new name for the Opera House’s development programme, under Deborah Bull’s directorship, to commission fresh and cross-boundary work for the Linbury Studio Theatre and other spaces. This produced The Wind in the Willows before Christmas, but very different was last weekend’s double bill by the choreographer Cathy Marston, a new ROH associate artist.
Marston is keen on literary subjects, and both pieces, Sophie and Stateless, are her responses to William Styron’s novel Sophie’s Choice, also linking in to the new opera. Leaving out entirely the “choice” (over Sophie’s children at Auschwitz), Marston explores Sophie’s memories of her relationships, and what is truth, with her father, the Nazi commandant and her lover, Nathan. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2101-543672,00.html