I'm back! I was in Dallas for a wedding this past weekend. It was wonderful seeing a stunning bride and a happy family, and yet in the back of my mind was one little grain of irritation...
Today's blog post. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog question this month is about prologues. Love them? Hate them? Kiss them or compost them? What?
How do I really feel about prologues?
Way back in April of 2010 I'd blogged about them, deciding that for my own stories, I didn't like them so much. I'd prefer to sprinkle in back story as I went along. Right? Right.
So here's something that shocked me when I got to Dallas. I swear this has to do with prologues, so stay with me. We were staying at the lovely Crescent Hotel, and this is what we saw in the foyer:
This is the front.
And this was the back view.
Here is a close up of the red dress.
I was so tempted to scramble over to the placard that explained why these shredded ballgowns were pierced and strung up like insect shells caught in a spider web. I was fascinated and horrified. Amazed and curious.
And I thought, this is the whole issue with prologues, right here with these dresses.
1) Did I need a prologue to prepare me somehow for why these dresses were here? To tempt me about about their stories (pro-prologue)? Or was it better to just be thrust into their presence to experience the shock of seeing them, with no preparation at all (anti-prologue)?
2) OR...maybe these dresses ARE the prologue to another story yet to come. Pieced together, vivisected and objectified, yet beautiful and fragile, they give a glimpse of what's yet to be, tantalizing the viewer to read on and find out the real story of why.
It's about being pro-story. Write your story, and write it as well as you can.
On the artwork:
Both dresses are originally from the NYC Opera's archives, fashioned with monofilament and wood into a suspended sculpture.
From E.V. Day's website, on the first sculpture:
Cinderella: Distressed Peasant/Princess
This sculpture is composed of two Cinderella dresses that symbolize her transformation: the white, cake-like “Princess” dress with its pearls and panniers, and a dress found on a rack of the costume archive labeled “Distressed Peasant.” Ironically, the peasant dress is more a marvel of handiwork and artifice—its luscious cashmere woven to look like burlap, its hand-made lace hand-torn and rubbed with ink to look sooty, and its silk velvet corselette punched with holes. The bloated, regal Princess dress splits down the back, and the cicada-like, deluxe dishevelment erupts.
On the red dress sculpture:
Mimì—Rigor Mortis (La Bohème, Puccini)
The most popular work in the operatic repertory, La bohème recounts the sad tale of the seamstress Mimì; from her rapturous love for the dashing poet Rodolfo to her tragic demise from a dreaded disease, dying in the freezing cold in the arms of her love. This exquisite example of a bustled Victorian dress in red velvet, with its laced bodice and satin ribbon, is so architecturally constructed it practically stands on its own. The figure of the unyielding dress, hovering like a headless sleep-walking zombie, seems frozen in the moment she reaches for her lover.