A confession in dance

Mérimée cites Palladas in 1845:

Every woman is full of venom

And good she is for two:

At first when she lies on the bed, and

When she lies again, in grave.

Carmen asks in 2016: "I am wild and elusive as long as you consider me such. Will you awaken or destroy me?"

The dance production "Carmen: Unpublished Letters" is based on Prosper Mérimée's "Carmen" that is written though a male perspective in the 19th century.

The director says: "I think it's important to tell the story also through a female perspective. It becomes a confession through letters, dance and music in the way the woman sees it expressing what she has really felt and experienced.

It is not always easy to be different and brave. Especially when the woman's behaviour seems out of the ordinary and not fitting into given frames. Carmen as a character is associated with many of the basic values like freedom, love, dignity and remaining true to oneself. Carmen represents all of the female archetypes - the maiden, the queen, the mother, and the lover. Our story it is not so much about the meeting of Carmen and Jose, but about the encounter between a Woman and a Man.

In the process of our research of "Carmen: Unpublished Letters" we have asked many questions. What is at stake when a dog and a wolf need to coexist? Does real love have to finish with something dying or must things not be allowed to go that far? What counts in the end - will or fate?

Stories are like rituals that must be shared in order for a person to become purified. That way new stories can come our way. The truth is therapeutic and Estonian women should have more courage to share their stories. This is also one of the many reasons our production has come to life. If a woman experiences something fully and expresses it, she can find her message and her strength. The letters are only one way to seek the truth.

My original idea has now culminated in my graduating production from Tallinn University Choreography Department. But in fact the idea for this production dates back already several years. One day when I was reading "Carmen" I realised that it's not going to let me go and it wanted to be expressed. In 2012 I went to Granada in Spain to follow Carmen's paths. I wanted to look for the message of my story and to experience the local flamenco culture. Discussions and dramaturgy development in collaboration with Aare Toikka was very augmenting. Restoring dances with Lehti Kostabi, collaborating with an actor, musician and other artists was also a pilgrimage of a kind."

We wish to thank: Heili Einasto, Renee Nõmmik, Tatjana Romanova, Katariina Ratasepp, Inga Vares, Kati Kivitar, Mari Mägi, Sille Kapper.

The production is Mari-Liis Verberg's final year production from Tallinn University Choreography Department.

Performances: April 28 and May 1 at 18.00 in National Library Theatre Hall. Entrance is free.

Director, choreographer: Mari-Liis Velberg
Consultant: Aare Toikka
Sound designers: Tanel Ruben, Ago Soots
Set designer: Eva Vellesaar-Mälk
Lighting designer: Triin Hook
Costume designer: Reet Velberg
Flamenco consultant: Lehti Kostabi
Performers: Ago Soots, Mari-Liis Velberg and Tanel Ruben
Choreographers whose work is used in the production: Lehti Kostabi, Anna Palmio and Mari-Liis Velberg