As Shakespeare noted in The Tempest, « What ‘s past is prologue »
While researching Paris, we stumbled upon some fascinating images of the Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen, Paris’s largest flea market.
We remembered our visits there years ago, going along the aisles of furniture, knick-knacks, paintings, period clothes, books and rarities of all sorts.
We also remembered the feeling of being somewhere else in time and, by touching the various objects, of almost coming into contact with their previous owners.
The past, present and future are not separate, linear concepts. Instead, they co-exist as part of the texture and truth of our lives.
In a present that often feels chaotic and out of control, there is a hankering after a less hetic, more carefree past. Are we attracted to flea markets because of the connections they offer to that – albeit idealised – simpler life ?
Our own visits to the Marché aux Puces fed into our ideas for this production of La Bohème. We imagined a present-day tourist, who is unwell, visiting a flea market in Paris. There she discovers a stall specialising in objects d’art from the 1020s, a time when the city was a magnet for artistic expatriates – « The Lost Generation » - attracted to its vibrant and open atmosphere.
Our tourist daydreams of the city back then, and starts to imagine La Bohème’s very own writer and painter in their cold, dank garret. She will become Mimi and live out her fantasy.
This production is dedicated to all cancer patients whose dreams have been cut short.