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In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Words, Words, Words: Paris 1968

Oct 1, 2015 4:41:00 PM
By BLO Staff

By John Conklin

In the two blazing months of the "Paris Spring of '68," the City of Lights became the City of Slogans. A universe of graffiti (sprayed, scrawled, and painted) of posters, placards, and manifestos, of pamphlets and radical newspapers...texts everywhere amidst the strikes, the demonstrations, the idealism, the  passion, and the violence. Words appeared on crumbling medieval walls, on grandiosely pompous government buildings, on trees, on automobiles, on the pavement. And because this, for the most part, was a university student-run manifestation, there was humor, whimsy, even wit (albeit sometimes, not surprisingly, of a somewhat undergraduate mentality) amidst the high rhetoric of anarchy, passionate idealism, a radical call for political power...for revolution itself. You will see onstage in the BLO production of Bohème a number of these texts, the strikingly concentrated essence of the whole May event expressed in a few words.

Here are a few more that try to give the unique flavor of this event, so full of contemporary relevance (think Bernie), historical fascination, and psychological resonance.

L'IMAGINATION PREND LE POUVOIR (Imagination has seized power)
LE BONHEUR EST UN IDEE NEUVE (Happiness is a new idea)
REVE + EVOLUTION = REVOULUTION (Dream plus evolution equals revolution)
NOUS SOMMES REASSURE. 2 + 2  NE FONT PLUS 4 (We are reassured. 2 + 2 no longer make 4)
L'ANARCHIE , C'EST JE (Anarchy is I)
LA POESIE EST DANS LA RUE (Poetry is in the streets)
LA DURE REALITE DU PAVE (The harsh reality of the paving stone)
SOYONS REALISTES, DEMANDONS L'IMPOSSIBLE (Be realistic, demand the impossible)
EAGERER, VOILA L'ARME (Exaggeration, that is the weapon)
AYEZ DES IDEES (Have ideas)

Topics: 2015/16 Season, la boheme, BohemeBLO

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