I’ve never really been an arty person. I like museums but it’s generally the information I like to learn. Art Exhibitions pass me by completely. My idea of entertainment in a theatre might involve a movie. Or Riverdance. I like Riverdance actually, but I’d call that entertainment rather than art.
The missus isn’t really into it either. But she’s curious like me. Most importantly she likes Billy Elliot. I don’t, I think it’s a load of rubbish. But when her birthday comes round and the ballet just happens to be in town… well, it’s brownie points at worst!
Admittedly, I wasn’t to know that the tickets I’d bought for Swan Lake were going to clash with a Celtic game. But, a promise is a promise, and we’ve been rubbish of late. As it was, Celtic won 1-0 in a fairly dire match, so I didn’t miss much there after all.
Like I say, I’m not arty. So I know nothing about who’s good at ballet and who’s not. Truth be told I don’t even know that many ballets. I know Swan Lake. Well, I’ve heard of it. The Nutcracker, is that one? Maybe? Madame Butterfly possibly? Anyway, we went to see Swan Lake by the Russian State Ballet. I’m told they’re good. I’m also told the Russians are overrated. I have no frame of reference to call it either way.
I also don’t know the story going in. I’ve assumed there’s a lake and some swans involved somewhere. But having now seen it, here’s what I think happened.
We start off at the castle party. The dad – possibly the king – is out his face and one cup isn’t enough. There’s two younger boys, I think a prince and his pal, and later the queen arrives. She seems to have decided it’s time her boy gets married. He’s not too fussed about the two wenches kicking about though. His pal knows this and appears to think he’s in with a chance of a threesome. That’s more or less the whole of act I.
Act II and we’re at the lake. And there’s swans. Our prince is also there and seems to spend the whole act trying to get off with the queen swan. Meanwhile, there’s a crow or something kicking about trying to stop him getting off with the swan. Maybe the crow thinks humans and birds don’t go. Or maybe the crow fancies the queen swan himself. I dunno, I never figured that out. And that takes us to the interval.
Act III and we’re back at the castle where queenie is holding Princess Idol. Seriously, there’s five wenches showing off their talents. The way they’re dressed I get the impression they’re from far and wide. The prince turns up and again, he’s not impressed. Too human for our boy probably. But then the swan turns up and shows what she’s got. Queenie is so impressed she gives her blessing. The crow, watching all this going on, steps in and cockblocks. This act seems to end with the crow and the swan laughing at the prince. Probably a case of “yer human ya dick, away and ride yer ain species”. Cos clearly Swan Lake is just outside Glasgow.
Act IV and we’re back at the lake. There’s some kind of stand off between black swans and White swans – I’m guessing the black ones are with the crow and the White ones are with the prince and the swan. The swan appears to have stopped laughing and changed her mind, the cocktease. Anyway, the stand off inevitably comes down to crow versus prince, then the lake steps in and drowns the pair of them. The swan is left all alone. And then it ends.
The missus tells me this is different to the ending of Swan Lake in Billy Elliot where something happens and he gets feathers. But to be honest, this is all such mind altering experience I’m not sure it could be any more mental.
Maybe I’ve missed the point. Or maybe whoever wrote Swan Lake was on something. Given it’s so highly acclaimed by the arts though, I’ve probably missed something.
Maybe I should just stick to my entertainment like football and Lord of the Dance. This art stuff is on a different level.