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Music, dance

To the Lighthouse (1927): a choreographic re-elaboration

Jean-Rémi Lapaire and Hélène Duval

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  • 1 Transmettre, apprécier, créer. Hélène Duval à Bordeaux, 2017. Directed by Jean-Rémi Lapaire and pro (...)

1To the Lighthouse is rightfully considered to be Virginia Woolf’s most accomplished work of fiction. The present stage adaptation was initially conceived and performed at Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France, under the choreographic guidance of Hélène Duval (Département danse, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada). During the Spring Semester of 2017, some forty graduate students from the English, General Linguistics and Performing Arts departments were involved in writing a “minimalist script” and collecting movement material for the choreography. The workshops were held at the Arts Centre (Maison des Arts, Domaine Universitaire, Pessac). Participants reflected in pairs before engaging in activities with the rest of the group. Diaries were kept, and a film was made that documents the dynamics of the creative process (in French).1

Figure 1

Figure 1

Working on the script

Figure 2

Figure 2

Discussing options

Figure 3

Figure 3

Selecting movement material

Figure 4

Figure 4

Reflecting on gesture form

Figure 5

Figure 5

Experimenting with short gesture sequences

Figure 6

Figure 6

Giving choreographic instruction (Hélène Duval)

Figure 7

Figure 7

Putting the choreographic pieces together

Groups perform gestural characterizations of Mr Ramsay, Lilly Briscoe and Mrs Ramsay

2Undergraduate students from the Fine Arts Department were invited to sketch the participants as they sat or engaged in movement exercises. One of them, Emma Kradaoui, produced a remarkable collection of drawings that students later printed into their diaries.

Figure 8

Figure 8

A sketch of the present”: Emma Kradaoui at work

Figure 9

Figure 9

Drawings by Emma Kradaoui

3In May 2017, eleven students volunteered to prepare a “portable” version of the piece, to be performed at the TILLIT festival in Vercelli (Teatro in Lingua, Lingua in Teatro, dir. Pr. Marco Pustianaz, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Italia). The group travelled to Italy as an amateur company (Choreographers of Speech) with funding from the academic council for innovation (Université Bordeaux Montaigne). Three drama students – Fabienne Paris, Cyril Teillier, and Louise Bernard – were among the performers. They agreed to adapt Hélène Duval’s choreographic work to the stage and did a remarkable job. The following pages explore the dynamics and aesthetics of their transposition, with special reference to the TILLIT script and performance on 31 May 2017.

Short public presentation2

  • 2 English version, adapted from the original Italian presentation, delivered on stage by Jean-Rémi La (...)
  • 3 “(When the book was written) I ceased to be obsessed by my mother. I no longer hear her voice; I do (...)

4Choreographers of speech are delighted to present a stage adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse (1927). Virginia Woolf was only 13 when her mother died. For many years, she was “obsessed” by the loss. Then, one day, in London, as she was walking across Tavistock Square, she felt the urge to write a piece of fiction inspired by her own childhood experience. This, she felt, was the only way she could trace her mother’s “invisible presence” in “the cathedral space” of remembrance, and be at peace with herself.3

  • 4 540 words now compress 69709 words of complex narrative; 12 minutes of coordinated physical action (...)

5To the Lighthouse was written by Woolf in just a few weeks. The general structure of the novel has been entirely preserved, with its three main divisions: “The Window”, “Time Passes”, “The Lighthouse.” But the plot had to be reduced to bare essentials4 and the original set of characters cut down to three protagonists: Mr Ramsay (a figure inspired by Virginia Woolf’s own father, Leslie Stephen), Mrs Ramsay (a fictional character reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s mother, Julia Prinsep), and the painter Lily Briscoe (a keen observer of the “patterns” of life, like Virginia Woolf herself). The young James and Cam Ramsay, as well as two older village women, also make fleeting appearances.

  • 5 Université Bordeaux Montaigne. M1 Etudes Anglophones. M1 Arts du Spectacle.
  • 6 Performers : Louise Bernard, Jane Cussac, Paul-Franck Dencausse, Julie Faugère, Maeva Gonfond, Solè (...)
  • 7 Hélène Duval is a professor of dance pedagogy at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), Canada. Wh (...)

6The performers are graduate students who are currently enrolled in two distinct masters degree programs5: 8 are English language majors (including a visiting American student from the University of California), 3 are drama specialists6 (who have co-directed this piece, initially choreographed by Hélène Duval from the University of Quebec in Montreal)7.

Adapted plot summary

7In the first part (The Window), the Ramsays are shown spending their summer holidays on the Isle of Skye. Their house has a commanding view of the bay, with a lighthouse in the distance, beaming at night. The children would love to sail and deliver parcels to the lighthouse keeper. Mrs Ramsay is sensitive and supportive but, much to James’s annoyance, Mr Ramsay coldly predicts that the sea will be too rough for the excursion, and is proven right. The war breaks out (1914-18).

8The house is “left” and “a profusion of darkness” insinuates itself into the “deserted” rooms (Part 2 - Time Passes). The reader incidentally learns that Mrs Ramsay and two of her children have died. Some ten years elapse before the Ramsays decide to come back (Part 3 – The Lighthouse). One of their former guests, Lily Briscoe, a painter, is with them. As she struggles to complete a painting that she had left unfinished, she “dips” her brush “into the past.” She realizes that Mrs Ramsay’s quiet but intense presence “brought everyone together.” “Mrs Ramsay! Mrs Ramsay!” she cries out in despair “as if to abuse her for having gone.” Meanwhile, Mr Ramsay and his children finally make it to the Lighthouse. As Lily applies the final brushstroke to her canvas, her own mental journey comes to an end and she ceases to be tormented. A sense of peace and completeness is restored at last.

To the Lighthouse (1927): a minimalist script for a short stage performance8

  • 8 Teatro in Lingua, Lingua in Teatro (TILLIT 2017 - UPO), Teatro Civico, Vercelli, Piemonte, Italy, 3 (...)

9The novel uses a “small canvas” (Sampson 1970: 877), which both facilitates and legitimises compression. Major syntactic adjustments nonetheless had to be made.

Figure 10

Figure 10

Breaking the waves: sea and lighthouse movements

Prologue9

  • 9 The opening lines of the performance are based on “A sketch of the Past” (1939-40)– a 90 page “memo (...)
  • 10 “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 84).

10V. Woolf: I feel that by writing I am doing what is far more necessary than anything else…10 One day, as I was walking, I made up To the Lighthouse. Why then? I have no notion.

11Voice: The book was written very quickly. One thing burst into another, like bubbles blown out of a pipe.

  • 11 Adapted from “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 94): “Then one day walking round Tav (...)

12Voice: Ideas… voices… scenes… came from a world far away.11

I The Window

13Voice: La finestra.

14Voice : La fenêtre.

15Voice : Das Fenster.

16James: Mother, can we go to the Lighthouse?

17Cam: We have parcels for the Lighthouse keeper and his son!

18Voice: Stockings.

19Voice: A pile of old magazines.

20Voice: Some tobacco.

  • 12 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 1, 10. “(…) if they did go to the Lig (...)

21James & Cam: Please!12

22

  • 13 Opening line, To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 1, 9.

23Mrs Ramsay: Yes, of course, if it’s fine tomorrow!13

  • 14 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 1, 9.

24Mr Ramsay: But it won’t be fine!14

25

26Voice: The same dreary waves breaking week after week.

27Voice: The windows covered with spray!

28James: The Lighthouse keeper and his crippled son!

29Cam: They must be bored to death! Sitting all day with nothing to do!

30Voice: Shut up for a whole month!

  • 15 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 1, 10.

31Voice: How would you like that?15

32

  • 16 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 11, 60.

33Lily: To be silent, to be alone.16

  • 17 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 17, 78.

34Mrs Ramsay: But what have I done with my life?17

35….

  • 18 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 3, 19.

36James: Perhaps it will be fine tomorrow!18

  • 19 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 1, 9.

37Mr Ramsay: But it won’t be fine.19

  • 20 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 2, 19.

38Chorus: No going to the Lighthouse, James!20

II Time passes

39Voice: Il tempo passa.

40Voice: Le temps passe.

41Voice: La maison vide.

42

  • 21 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 1, 117.

43Voice: One by one the lamps were all extinguished.21

44Voice: Darkness flooding in.

45Voice: Darkness in the drawing room.

46Voice: Darkness in the staircase.

47Voice: Darkness in the bedrooms.

  • 22 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 2, 117: “So with the lamps all put ou (...)

48Voice: Darkness.22

49

50Voice: Nothing moved, nothing stirred.

51Voice: The house was left; the house was deserted.

  • 23 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 9, 128.

52Voice: Only the lighthouse beam entered the rooms for a moment.23

53

54Mrs bast (cleaner 1): They never come.

55Mrs McNab (cleaner 2): They never send.

  • 24 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 9, 128: “It was beyond the strength o (...)

56Mrs bast (cleaner 1): They never write.24

57Mrs McNab (cleaner 2): The war!

58Voice: Der Krieg. C’est la guerre!

59

60Voice: Night.

61Voice: Night succeeds to night.

  • 25 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 3, 119.

62Voice: The nights now are full of wind and destruction!25

  • 26 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 3, 120: “[Mr Ramsay stumbling along a (...)

63Voice: Mrs Ramsay died in London, last night!26

  • 27 Opening line, To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 3, 119.

64Voice: But what after all is one night?27

III The Lighthouse

65Voice: Il faro

66Voice: Le phare.

67

68Voice: The peace has come again.

  • 28 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 10, 133. “Then indeed peace had come. (...)

69Voice: The house is full again.28

70Voice: Back after all these years!

  • 29 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 1, 137. “For really, what did she fee (...)

71Voice: And Mrs Ramsay dead!29

  • 30 Opening line, To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 1, 137.

72Voice: What does it mean then, what can it all mean?30

73

74[First focus on Lily Briscoe] [Comments by the Mrs Ramsays]

  • 31 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 1, 139.

75Voice: Lily never finished that picture.31

76Voice: She will paint it now!

77

78[First focus on Mr Ramsay] [Comments by the Lily Briscoes]

79Voice: Mr Ramsay!

80Voice: That man never gave!

  • 32 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 1, 140: “That man, she thought, her a (...)

81Voice: That man took!32

82

83[First focus on Mrs Ramsay] [Comments by Mr Ramsays]

84Voice: Mrs Ramsay!

  • 33 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 150: “(S)he brought together this (...)

85Voice: She brought everyone together!33

  • 34 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 1, 140.

86Voice: Giving, giving, she had died!34

87

88[Second focus on Lilly Briscoe] [Comments by the Mrs Ramsays]

  • 35 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 149.

89Voice: Can’t paint. Can’t write!35

  • 36 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 147.

90Voice: Where to begin?36

  • 37 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 151.

91Voice: Life, stand still!37

92

93[Second focus on Mr Ramsay] [Comments by the Lily Briscoes]

94Voice: Now he wants to go to the Lighthouse!

  • 38 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 4, 152.

95Voice: He’s sitting in the middle of the boat, with the children.38

  • 39 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 4, 151.

96Voice: The sails flap over their heads.39

97[Second focus on Mrs Ramsay] [Comments by the Mr Ramsays]

  • 40 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 149:”And then, she reflected, ther (...)

98Voice: Mrs Ramsay on the beach. Do you remember?40

  • 41 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 7, 168.

99Voice: Mrs Ramsay in all her beauty.41

  • 42 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 150.

100Voice: Mrs Ramsay resolved everything into simplicity.42

101

  • 43 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 5, 162.
  • 44 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 11, 186.

102Chorus: Mrs Ramsay has faded and gone.43 Mrs Ramsay! Mrs Ramsay!44

103

  • 45 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 12, 188.

104Mr Ramsay: There’s the Lighthouse! We’re almost there!45

  • 46 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 13, 191-92: “‘He has landed,’ she sai (...)

105Lily: They have landed! It is done. It is finished!46

  • 47 Closing line of To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 13, 192.

106Lily: I’ve had my vision.47

An insight into the re-elaboration process

  • 48 “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 95). Virginia Woolf moved to 52 Tavistock Square (...)
  • 49 “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 83).
  • 50 “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 81).

107Just as Virginia Woolf’s starting point was “a walk around Tavistock Square,”48 so the students’ first assignment was to go out for a stroll in a public park or around the main campus site. Hélène Duval insisted on everyone opening themselves up to their immediate surroundings and collecting sensory material that might later be reused as “composition material,” with conscious attention paid to light, colour, sound, smell, texture, motion, temperature, as well as mood changes and fleeting impressions. During the walking and sensing exercises, participants were encouraged to revisit some past situation, some special “moment” that had “come unexpectedly to the surface,” some personal “discovery” about the world or about themselves that they wanted to “go back to, turn over and explore,” to use Virginia Woolf’s own terms and artistic method.49 Hélène Duval was particularly insistent on performers gaining an embodied awareness of the creative process underlying artistic composition. In her oral and written instructions, she stressed the importance of emulating Virginia Woolf’s perception- and memory-based stance, by physically re-enacting the “walks,” by navigating their inner and outer worlds, by allowing thoughts, feelings, recollections, “moments of being” or “non being”50 to emerge. Provisions were made for students who could not engage in the outdoors exercises.

  • 51 Maison des Arts, Domaine Universitaire, Pessac, France.
  • 52 “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 94).

108The vast performance space at the University Arts Centre,51 where the workshops were held, symbolically stood for the “cathedral space”52 of personal memories. The students worked in pairs, then in small groups, to develop kinetic evocations of their sensations, building on Laban’s notions of “effort” and “shape” (Laban 1943). Virginia Woolf, it may be recalled, had an extraordinary capacity for registering and recalling intimate perceptions (Fusini 2006). As dynamic tableaux and short gesture phrases were composed, the pictorial element in Woolf’s narrative strategy (Lacourarie 2002), the “transparency” an “opacity” phenomena in her writings (Lanone 2013) were experienced and physically enacted.

  • 53 Fr. « Trouver ce qui pourrait être la signature gestuelle du personnage. »

109Once this essential preparatory work was completed, students were instructed to develop a kinetic characterization53 of Lily Briscoe, Mr Ramsay or Mrs Ramsay. Simple movement sequences, evocative of the core personality and interactional features of the three characters, were designed and rehearsed in small groups. Thus, firm steps, angular shapes, brisk hand gestures, and sneering facial expressions were spontaneously produced by the participants to mark the tyranny and insensitive rationality of Mr Ramsay, leaving no room for the positive expression of his “stoicism” (Bradbrook 1978: 282-85). As expected, Lily Briscoe’s art and observational skills dominated in the various kinetic characterizations that were developed. Brush strokes provided a metonymic starting point to evoke Lily’s identity as a painter, but were later stylised, so that the somewhat naïve iconicity of the hand movements was ultimately overcome. Meanwhile, the quiet, unassuming, Mrs Ramsay was perceived as perpetually “giving,” walking in circles, floating meditatively about.

110All the coordinated movements were performed in groups of 4 to 6: “the Lily Briscoes,” “the Mr Ramsays,” and “the Mrs Ramsays.” The gesture sequences were highlighted in the opening and closing moments of the performance, but occurred over and again throughout the piece, in the form of “a kinetic leitmotiv.” On occasion, interactional frames between the Mr Ramsays, the Lily Briscoes and the Mrs Ramsays were set up, with groups following each other, observing each other, or even mixing with each other.

111The gesture sequences were originally performed in complete silence, so as to orchestrate a Woolfian “return” to bodily perceptions and motions (Smith-Di Biasio, 2010). The continuous flow of movement, on the stage, was resonant with the “stream of consciousness” technique used in the novel, “the unbroken flow of thought and awareness in the waking mind”, the mingling of “sense perceptions with conscious and half conscious thoughts, memories, feelings, and random associations” (Abrams 1970: 164-5).

112Verbal statements borrowed from the original inner monologues of Lily Briscoe and the Ramsays were later added for the TILLIT piece: while one group would silently engage in the kinetic characterisation of a protagonist (e.g. Mrs Ramsay), a second group would watch close by and a third group would make some terse comment (e.g. “Giving, giving she had died”; “Mrs Ramsay resolved everything into simplicity”). The focus would then shift to another protagonist. The changing “perspective” on characters and events, which is an essential feature of To Lighthouse (Scifoni 2007), thus received tangible expression on the stage (Figures 19-21).

113Woolf’s short poetic interlude on the passage of time (Part 2 – Time Passes), which has often been the target of severe criticism, proved to be “successful in its context” (Sampson 1970: 876). Students and instructors found the war, the “darkness” and the empty house particularly inspiring, while Max Richter’s music gave a moving intensity to the scene. The score was initially composed for Wayne McGregor’s choreography (“Woolf Works” 2015) and released by Deutsche Grammophon in January 2017. In the TILLIT version, the performers stood in circles. Each embodied a silent piece of stone or furniture, gathering dust. Then came Mrs Bast and Mrs McNab, moaning and cleaning. The circular structures gradually started to corrode and dissolve, as silence, humidity and darkness invaded the empty house (Figure 12). Finally, the war broke out and brought about commotion and disarray (Figures 13-15).

114Throughout the performance, the presence of the waves could be felt, endlessly lashing against the shore. At key moments, the entire group stood in a line and engaged in a collective swell: bobbing up and down, rising and falling with the tide, resisting then yielding to the pull of gravity, upstage and downstage. Some occasionally stopped and turned, to evoke the verticality and rotating beam of the Lighthouse (Figure 10). Until everything froze: Lily had had her vision.

Figure 11

Figure 11

Part 1 – “But what have I done with my life?”

Figure 12

Figure 12

Part 2 – “Darkness. Nothing stirred, nothing moved.”

Figure 13

Figure 13

Part 2 – “The War!”

Figure 14

Figure 14

Part 2 – “Der Krieg!”

Figure 15

Figure 15

Part 2 – “C’est la guerre!”

Figure 16

Figure 16

Part 2 – “But what after all is one night?”

Figure 17

Figure 17

Part 3 – “The peace has come again. The house is full again”

Figure 18

Figure 18

Part 3 –Mr Ramsay / Lily Briscoe / Mrs Ramsay

Figure 19

Figure 19

Part 3 –“Lily never finished that picture.”

Figure 20

Figure 20

Part 3 – “That man never gave. That man took!”

Figure 21

Figure 21

Part 3 – “Mrs Ramsay resolved everything into simplicity.”

Figure 22

Figure 22

Part 3 – “Mrs Ramsay has faded and gone”

Figure 23

Figure 23

Choreographers of Speech

115Figure 24

Final curtain

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Bibliography

Abrams, Meyer Howard. A Glossary of Literary Terms. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1971

Bradbrook, Frank. Virginia Woolf: the theory and practice of fiction. In The Pelican Guide to English Literature. Volume 7. The Modern Age. Third Edition. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1978, 275-287.

Fusini, Nadia. Possiedo la mia anima: il segreto di Virginia Woolf. Milano: Edizioni Mondadori, 2006. Ebook ISBN 9788852016530

Laban, Rudolph. Modern Educational Dance. 2nd edition revised by L. Ullmann. London : MacDonald and Evans. [1948], 1963.

Lacourarie, Chantal. Virginia Woolf : l’écriture en tableau. Paris : l’Harmattan, 2002.

Lanone, Catherine. Virginia Woolf ou l’opacité de la transparence, Études britanniques contemporaines, 44 | 2013 URL : http://ebc.revues.org/463

Richter, Max. Three Worlds: Music from Woolf Works. Mrs Dalloway, Orlando, The Waves. Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg. Robert Ziegler conductor. Deutsche Grammophon Records, 2017.

Sampson, George. The concise history of English Literature. Third Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, [1972] 1979.

Scifoni, Alessandra. Gita al Faro di Virginia Woolf. Progetto Babele Rivista Letteraria, 2007. Consulté le 10.01.2017. URL: http://www.progettobabele.it/rubriche/showrac.php?ID=2403

Smith-Di Biasio, Anne-Marie. Virginia Woolf, la hantise de l'écriture. Indigo, 2010.

Wayne McGregor. Woolf Works. Choreography, direction, and designs. Premiered at the Royal Opera House, London, 11 May 2015. URL: http://waynemcgregor.com/productions/woolf-works/

Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse. Frogmore, St Albans: Triad / Panther Books, [1927] 1977.

Woolf, Virginia. Moments of Being. Edited by Jeanne Schulkind. Triad / Grafton Books, [1978] 1986.

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Notes

1 Transmettre, apprécier, créer. Hélène Duval à Bordeaux, 2017. Directed by Jean-Rémi Lapaire and produced by EA CLIMAS / WebTV Bordeaux Montaigne.

2 English version, adapted from the original Italian presentation, delivered on stage by Jean-Rémi Lapaire.

3 “(When the book was written) I ceased to be obsessed by my mother. I no longer hear her voice; I do not see her.” (Moments of Being, “A Sketch of the Past”, 1978 [1939-40]: 94).

4 540 words now compress 69709 words of complex narrative; 12 minutes of coordinated physical action now express the extraordinarily rich and fragmented inner world of the dramatis personae.

5 Université Bordeaux Montaigne. M1 Etudes Anglophones. M1 Arts du Spectacle.

6 Performers : Louise Bernard, Jane Cussac, Paul-Franck Dencausse, Julie Faugère, Maeva Gonfond, Solène Hauquelin, Alexia Hervoix, Marion Lesca, Mara Palmieri, Fabienne Paris, Cyril Teillier (Université Bordeaux Montaigne, University of California).

7 Hélène Duval is a professor of dance pedagogy at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), Canada. While visiting Université Bordeaux Montaigne, she choreographed To the Lighthouse to music composed by Max Richter and released in 2017 (Three Worlds : music from Woolf’s works). Over 30 students were involved in the project.

8 Teatro in Lingua, Lingua in Teatro (TILLIT 2017 - UPO), Teatro Civico, Vercelli, Piemonte, Italy, 31 May-1 June 2017. The final script was written by Jean-Rémi Lapaire, after “creative rewriting sessions” with the drama students.

9 The opening lines of the performance are based on “A sketch of the Past” (1939-40)– a 90 page “memoir” edited by Jane Schulkind and published in Moments of Being (1978). Childhood memories are prominent, one leading to another and revealing “moments of “being” or “non being” (81). In the process of “fixing one’s mind” on “colour-and-sound memories” (77), while grasping “some real thing behind appearances” (84), the “memoir writer” experiences both “difficulty” (75) and ecstasy: “Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me. It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what; making a scene come right; making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we–I mean all human beings–are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art” (84).

10 “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 84).

11 Adapted from “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 94): “Then one day walking round Tavistock Square I made up, as I sometimes make up my books, To the Lighthouse; in a great, apparently involuntary, rush. One thing burst into another. Blowing bubbles out of a pipe gives the feeling of the rapid crowd of ideas and scenes which blew out of my mind, so that my lips seemed syllabling of their own accord as I walked. What blew the bubbles? Why then? I have no notion. But I wrote the book very quickly.”

12 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 1, 10. “(…) if they did go to the Lighthouse after all, it was to be given to the Lighthouse keeper for his little boy, who was threatened with a tuberculous hip; together with a pile of old magazines, and some tobacco, indeed whatever she could find lying about, not only wanted, but only littering the room, to give those poor fellows who must be bored to death sitting all day with nothing to do but polish the lamp and trim the wick and rake about on their scrap of garden, something to amuse them. For how would like to be shut up for a whole month at a time (…) to see the same dreary waves breaking week after week, and then a dreadful storm coming, and windows covered with spray, and birds dashed against the lamp (…) How would you like that?”

13 Opening line, To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 1, 9.

14 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 1, 9.

15 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 1, 10.

16 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 11, 60.

17 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 17, 78.

18 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 3, 19.

19 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 1, 9.

20 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 1, Chapter 2, 19.

21 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 1, 117.

22 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 2, 117: “So with the lamps all put out, the moon sunk, and a thin rain drumming on the roof a downpouring of immense darkness began. Nothing, it seemed, could survive the flood, the profusion of darkness which, creeping in at keyholes and crevices, stole round window blinds, came into bedrooms (…) Nothing stirred in the drawing-room or in the dining-room or on the staircase.”

23 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 9, 128.

24 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 9, 128: “It was beyond the strength of one woman, she said. They never sent. They never wrote. There were things up there rotting in the drawers - it was a shame to leave them so, she said. The place was gone to rack and ruin.”

25 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 3, 119.

26 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 3, 120: “[Mr Ramsay stumbling along a passage stretched his arms out one dark morning, but, Mrs Ramsay having died rather suddenly the night before, he stretched his arms out. They remained empty.]”

27 Opening line, To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 3, 119.

28 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 2, Chapter 10, 133. “Then indeed peace had come. Messages of peace breathed from the sea to the shore (…) Lily Briscoe stirring in her sleep clutched at her blankets as a faller clutches at the turf on the edge of a cliff. Here eyes opened wide. Here she was again, she thought, sitting bolt upright in bed. Awake.”

29 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 1, 137. “For really, what did she feel, come back after all these years and Mrs Ramsay dead? Nothing, nothing – nothing that she could express at all.”

30 Opening line, To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 1, 137.

31 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 1, 139.

32 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 1, 140: “That man, she thought, her anger rising in her, never gave; that man took.”

33 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 150: “(S)he brought together this and that and then this.”

34 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 1, 140.

35 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 149.

36 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 147.

37 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 151.

38 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 4, 152.

39 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 4, 151.

40 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 149:”And then, she reflected, there was that scene on the beach. One must remember that.”

41 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 7, 168.

42 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 3, 150.

43 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 5, 162.

44 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 11, 186.

45 To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 12, 188.

46 Adapted from To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 13, 191-92: “‘He has landed,’ she said aloud. ‘It is finished.’ (…) It was done; it was finished.”

47 Closing line of To the Lighthouse ([1927] 1977), Part 3, Chapter 13, 192.

48 “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 95). Virginia Woolf moved to 52 Tavistock Square in 1924 and lived there until 1939.

49 “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 83).

50 “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 81).

51 Maison des Arts, Domaine Universitaire, Pessac, France.

52 “A Sketch of the Past” in Moments of Being (1978: 94).

53 Fr. « Trouver ce qui pourrait être la signature gestuelle du personnage. »

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List of illustrations

Title Figure 1
Caption Working on the script
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-1.png
File image/png, 734k
Title Figure 2
Caption Discussing options
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-2.png
File image/png, 527k
Title Figure 3
Caption Selecting movement material
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-3.png
File image/png, 988k
Title Figure 4
Caption Reflecting on gesture form
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-4.png
File image/png, 702k
Title Figure 5
Caption Experimenting with short gesture sequences
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-5.png
File image/png, 529k
Title Figure 6
Caption Giving choreographic instruction (Hélène Duval)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-6.jpg
File image/jpeg, 72k
Title Figure 7
Caption Putting the choreographic pieces together
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-7.png
File image/png, 790k
Title Figure 8
Caption “A sketch of the present”: Emma Kradaoui at work
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-8.jpg
File image/jpeg, 524k
Title Figure 9
Caption Drawings by Emma Kradaoui
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-9.jpg
File image/jpeg, 1.8M
Title Figure 10
Caption Breaking the waves: sea and lighthouse movements
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-10.png
File image/png, 319k
Title Figure 11
Caption Part 1 – “But what have I done with my life?”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-11.png
File image/png, 296k
Title Figure 12
Caption Part 2 – “Darkness. Nothing stirred, nothing moved.”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-12.png
File image/png, 200k
Title Figure 13
Caption Part 2 – “The War!”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-13.png
File image/png, 304k
Title Figure 14
Caption Part 2 – “Der Krieg!”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-14.png
File image/png, 317k
Title Figure 15
Caption Part 2 – “C’est la guerre!”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-15.png
File image/png, 294k
Title Figure 16
Caption Part 2 – “But what after all is one night?”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-16.png
File image/png, 475k
Title Figure 17
Caption Part 3 – “The peace has come again. The house is full again”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-17.png
File image/png, 224k
Title Figure 18
Caption Part 3 –Mr Ramsay / Lily Briscoe / Mrs Ramsay
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-18.png
File image/png, 314k
Title Figure 19
Caption Part 3 –“Lily never finished that picture.”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-19.png
File image/png, 295k
Title Figure 20
Caption Part 3 – “That man never gave. That man took!”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-20.png
File image/png, 155k
Title Figure 21
Caption Part 3 – “Mrs Ramsay resolved everything into simplicity.”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-21.png
File image/png, 151k
Title Figure 22
Caption Part 3 – “Mrs Ramsay has faded and gone”
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-22.png
File image/png, 137k
Title Figure 23
Caption Choreographers of Speech
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-23.png
File image/png, 358k
Caption Final curtain
URL http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/docannexe/image/10898/img-24.png
File image/png, 231k
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References

Electronic reference

Jean-Rémi Lapaire and Hélène Duval, « To the Lighthouse (1927): a choreographic re-elaboration », Miranda [Online], 15 | 2017, Online since 22 September 2017, connection on 18 December 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/miranda/10898

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About the authors

Jean-Rémi Lapaire

EA CLIMAS / Université Bordeaux Montaigne
jrlapaire@u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr

By this author

Hélène Duval

Professeur
Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
duval.helene@uqam.ca

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