What woman hasn't felt like one sashay from becoming completely unhinged? And sure, every woman has a "dark side" but most women never cross the line of going batsh*t crazy or frightening the bejesus out of people.
The truly crazy female, on the other hand, appears normal on the surface but then quickly over time, the facade is eroded as cracks and fissures in her composure start to show. At first, moments of insanity may be brushed off; being thought of instead as having an intense and mercurial temperament. Especially when crazy comes wrapped up in a beautiful package.
But it's hard to keep looking the other way when unpredictability snowballs into balls-out instability, accompanied by volatile tendencies.
As we prep for our upcoming opera, Salome, I am reminded of all the whacked out women we've all known and loved. On screen that is. The following celluloid females are the epitome of ticking time bombs.
left: "What goes around comes around" - Rebecca DeMornay in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
right: "He will cheat on you again - that's a promise. And when he does, don't come crying to me, because... I've had it with you" - Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female
left: "No. Wire. Hangers. Ever!" - Faye Dunaway in Mommy Dearest
right: "You are Blanche. You are in that chair!" - Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
left: "I won't be ignored" - Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction
right: "I can see your dirty pillows" - Piper Laurie in Carrie
"I'm your number one fan" - Kathy Bates in Misery
But in the pantheon of stories about crazy women, Salome tops them all.
Oscar Wilde's story goes a little something like this:
King Herod murders his brother so he can marry his brother's wife.
Herod lusts after his step daughter Salome.
Salome lusts after the prophet John the Baptist.
John the Paptist rejects Salome.
Salome demands his head.
Salome performs necrophilia to the head of John the Baptist.
Disgusted, King Herod has Salome killed.
"Oh, why didst thou not look at me? If thou hadst looked at me, thou wouldst have loved me. I know it well, thou wouldst have loved me. And thy mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death."
(photos from Royal Opera House production, London UK)
Yes, Salome is a certifiable nutjob. A freakshow that is one step beyond. But that's what makes her so watchable.
And we can't wait to introduce her to the good folks of Vancouver.
As Bette Davis said in All about Eve, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."
~ Ling Chan