A few weeks ago, I managed to gather a couple of friends to watch the first showing of La Verita. After weeks of same old work, I needed something vibrant to spark my imagination.
All I knew about the show was that it was based on Salvador Dali’s painting, and it was by one of the producers of a Cirque du Soleil show (which I absolutely love!). So of course, I had really high expectations.
As soon as it started though, I wasn’t sure what I’d gotten myself into. As boring as it may sound, I’m a fan of structured story telling, which La Verita decidedly was not. I couldn’t tell what was going on half the time, except that I (and my very exhausted brain) was catapulted into one act after another.
Those acts were colorful, and the right amount of vibrant I hoped for, but also disorienting. Sometimes breathtaking and enchanting, sensual and beautiful, or even just annoying. But again, there were things that stood out for me. The desolate music in some scenes, or the beautiful way the acrobats worked together on stage, almost like animated paintings.
Everything centered around Dali’s long lost painting, depicting Tristan and Isolde. It was an homage to not only Dali’s surrealist talent in art, but his crazy lifestyle as well (and he was crazy).
After doing a few quick readings, I decided to break my understanding of the show (what little I took from it) in two parts:
Surrealism: If that Art History course I took back at uni serves me right, the Surrealism art is the depiction of dream-like situation. The release from reality that encouraged potential creativity in the subconscious mind.
Most of the show took after that movement. It was dreamlike throughout, but it didn’t really engage me fully with that dream, which makes me wonder if we, the audience, were meant to feel like that. The acrobatic acts definitely added to that creative potential, while the sudden, unexplained leaps between scenes gave it that dreamy quality.
Tristan und Isolde: An opera composed by Richard Wagner. The story revolves around two enemies-turned-starcrossed lovers whose circumstances seem so accidental, that their love was unfated (my interpretation of the summary).
Throughout the whole performance, a surreal depiction of Tristan and Isolde is shown in the background, which was Dali’s favorite music pieces. I can’t describe to you how gothic this artwork seemed. Anyone could easily pick up the undertones of tragic love. While I can’t stand stories about doomed-lovers (Romeo and Juliet), I was fascinated with this particular one because it seemed less rushed, and had more backstory for both these characters.
Overall, it felt like most of the scenes flew over my head with it’s random elements, and I only understood it after doing a quick search on Dali. While I enjoyed some of the acts, and was entranced by a few of them (especially the ones after intermission), I wasn’t completely immersed into the show.
I was still the outsider.