Still from Andrei Tarkovksky’s Solaris (1972)
TW: Due to the storyline of Solaris, there will be references to suicide in the linked piece below.
The quote in this edition’s subject line is from Roger Ebert’s review of Solaris (2002).
Hi there - I Miss Amy Winehouse opens tomorrow at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden, and tickets are still available.
My head’s been down in rehearsal and press for the show, so please forgive the lack of essays at the moment.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at the rest of the quote that you read in the subject line, because it so beautifully sums up what I want to explore in the show. Here’s more from the last paragragh of Roger Ebert’s review of the American Solaris remake with George Clooney from 2002:
[The film] is a workshop for a discussion of human identity. It considers not only how we relate to others, but how we relate to our ideas of others–so that a completely phony, non-human replica of a dead wife can inspire the same feelings that the wife herself once did. That is a peculiarity of humans: We feel the same emotions for our ideas as we do for the real world, which is why we can cry while reading a book, or fall in love with movie stars. Our idea of humanity bewitches us, while humanity itself stays safely sealed away into its billions of separate containers, or “people.”
To me, Solaris is about grief and wrestling with the past. “We felt the same emotions for our ideas as we do for the real world” feels apt, because grief is about ideas and beliefs that we can’t shake off: that the departed person would live more days in the world, in our world; that we would share that time; that our time together would never come to an end.
When it does, it’s a simple fact - they’re gone. A simple fact, but one we can’t take in. It seems to me that grieving is largely a process that gets us to believe that they’re gone, that we’ll have to reconfigure the rest of our lives to live with the absence of them. It can take years to become the person who accepts that fact.
It was really nice to cite that Ebert quote in an interview for the show recently - but I promise you, I Miss Amy Winehouse is 95% comedy! It really is!
Links of the week
The future of work: the problem with millennial productivity books
“By immersing myself in other endings, I thought I might outsmart my own” - a beautiful essay from fellow London Writer’s Salon member (and fast becoming one of my writing heroes), Lindsey Trout Hughes: The Ghost Town Honeymoon
Always Time for Theatre interview about I Miss Amy Winehouse
That’s all from me! Thank you for reading, I’ve been and continue to be Suchandrika Chakrabarti.
I plan to keep this newsletter free, but it does take time to write and curate. If you fancy buying me a Ko-fi I’d be eternally grateful, and will thank you in the next newsletter <3