The reason I’ve been talking about knickers is that a few nights ago I was at a university music department, watching a student performance of Don Giovanni.
It wasn’t a bad evening, and no-one was actually terrible. But there were no great voices that night, or singing actors in the making. I don’t think anyone in that production is ever going to be a star. The only one I’d have actually thrown tomatoes at, though, if I’d had them, was the director. That night’s Don Giovanni was set in a brothel in fascist Italy, and in that context a hell of a lot of the events, and the characters’ motives, made no sense at all.
But something odd happened in the interval. I was with a woman who was telling me that she was going to kill the next director who up-dated a Mozart opera to Nazi Germany, mafia gangs in America, Thatcher’s Britain, or had the singers come on-stage in their everyday clothes because this opera is timeless, really, isn’t it? It’s about today, really?
And I said, “Yeah. Or they set it in the time it was written, because the composer was really writing for his own time. Which means Victorian gear for most operas. God, I’m so bored with that. And Victorian dresses are probably the worst clothes women have ever worn in the history of humanity so far. And – ”
I stopped because there was movement overhead. A wide staircase led down into the floor we were on, and the girl I was with had taken her drink to the wall under the edge of the stairs. I was facing her.
The movement that caught my eye turned out to be a girl skipping down the stairs in a sundress. I said, “if they like Victorian costumes so much…” But the dress flipped a bit, mid-skip, and flashed the undercurve of her bottom. A nice slim bottom, pale, apple-rounded. She was either wearing a thong, or nothing at all.
I continued, “they could dress them in – ” Another step and I caught a glimpse of labia. She was wearing nothing at all. She didn’t shave, or wax.
This took maybe three seconds, at the most. But it seemed to have gone on for a remarkably long time. The girl with me said, “dress them in what?”
I’d been going to say something about how Victorians liked to wear costumes from the Raj, and then there was the Japanese craze. So you could dress your cast like that. Anything to get away from brown and grey crinoline. I shook my head. “Nothing. Sorry, lost my train of thought.”
I know. What am I, fourteen? The story’s not quite over yet, though.