an ontological lobotomy
Royal Opera House, 1987: Beauty and the Beast has the rhetoric of a Persil ad. All the energy and creative potential of the beast is washed out of him, to the delight of a thoroughly bourgeois audience. He not only comes out white, he comes out wet. He doesn’t dance any more, but primps and smiles about him, and supports the ballerina as she primps and smiles too. Nobody dances any more. The celebration of his taming is brief, vestigial, a tremor: then the ballet ends. He has allowed his raison d’etre to be amputated. He’s had an ontological lobotomy. This may be an artifact of the translation into dance. In the fairy tale the beast loses only his bestiality. Since, in the ballet, his bestiality is represented by dance, and by his best and most vigorous dancing, he loses everything. The other trouble with this medium is that so much of it goes on behind the head of the person sitting in front of you.