Preview: Lost Highway, Young Vic, London
Lynch's noir classic takes a stunning turn
Thursday 20 March 2008
After years of artistic uncertainty and murderous internal strife, is English National Opera finding a role as a disseminator of new ideas? While the New York Met joins the ranks of theatres picking up ENO shows, its artistic director John Berry is unveiling the fruits of a new collaboration with the Young Vic, the first of which puts David Lynch's film noir Lost Highway through an extraordinary theatrical reworking.
This is a film about what psychiatrists call "dissociative fugue", that stress-bred state in which a person unconsciously changes identity to escape some unbearable trauma; in this case, the guilt of a murderer.
Director Diane Paulus's production is set to a score by Olga Neuwirth, which has been lauded as challenging our perceptions of opera, and which in Paulus's view represents her biggest directorial challenge. "The piece is incredibly precise in terms of how it's scored," Paulus says, "with live orchestral music combined with electronic samples. In a conventional opera, the score gives the director a road map, but this is like walking on a high wire.
"Meanwhile, the film exists in people's memories – it wasn't a big hit, but among Lynch cult-heads it's often the No 1 film – and I'm having to juggle with what people will bring to the theatre in terms of their memories. I had to find a reason why people would want to see it live, because if you just want the two-dimensional experience, go see the movie."
This determined her set design – a highway cutting right through the audience, who will be seated in the round; a plexiglas box hanging above that highway, representing the house where the central characters live, with an Escher-like staircase descending; and 28 speakers to create a complex sound-system.
"It was actually inspired by Antony Gormley's box with vapour inside, in which you could disappear," Paulus says. "The show is really a private homage to him. It's theatre-as-installation, where the audience is part of the event. Brilliant to do at the Young Vic, impossible to do at the Coliseum."
4 t o 11 April (0871 911 0200)
TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies
Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 GamerGate: developer Tim Schafer provokes rage with joke about online gaming activists at industry awards
Fifty Shades of Grey banned by Indian censors despite sex scenes being edited out
The 9 rules every Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon had to follow are wonderfully pedantic
Toy Story 4: Pixar promises a romcom storyline 'separate' from the much-loved trilogy
India's Daughter: BBC Four documentary provokes outrage on Twitter
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests