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  • Writer's pictureTessa-Marie Luminati

The Waves

Virginia Woolf’s The Waves – a performative interpretation


The waves, thoughts, inspirations, and intentions

6th Dec 2020

The impulse to breath, the deep sense of need to take in life, giving in to that need, you inhale in, you expand, your mind opens, a thought trickles in, or rushes in. You can’t shake it out. It fills your entire brain. The body becomes absorbed by the thought. The thought explodes through the body, into a need, a want, an action, a gesture. Something happens. An event occurs. A moment is created. The breath finishes. The wave of breath subsides. The moment is released, everything is the same, and yet, everything has changed. This was my first impression of Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves.” A celebration of the microscopic moments of 6 characters’ lives, Jinny, Rhoda, Bernard, Louis, Susan, and Neville. Starting out as small children their lives progress, chop, and change through to middle age and beyond. Some get married, some move away, and some die. My research delves into the moment to moment life of Rhoda, The “nymph of the fountain, always wet.” She is the outcast of the group, the loner; she is swept through life in a constant struggle to connect; to grab hold of anything. She drowns in each and every moment under the weight of her own anxiety. “Every moment is separate and painful to me.” She has moments of relief where her imagination takes her into a world where she rules the crumbling Russian kingdom as an Empress, and moment’s of paralysing realisations that when she looks in the mirror she doesn’t see a face, a person staring back at her, she doesn’t see anything. My intention is to explore all her moments, as individual, cutting and painful as they are, expand them, and allow others to see and feel (the audience) how beautiful, all moments of life, even that bad ones can be.


Excerpts Script - VEIL

I sit, at the end of a dark hall, waiting, waiting for the news, a palace, an old medieval palace, with my band of silk round my head, I hear roars outside, but I sit calm, not needing anything, whatever will be will be. I am the most hated women in Russia, and I love it, the screams, the shouts, the fists, all directed at me. I am your Empress, I am your God, I see everything, I feel everything, I am everything, I am heaven, I am earth, I am the whispers in your sleep, I am the thoughts in your head. The temperature changes, The door behind me opens and the draft tickles the back of my neck; an ice wind, cold. News is coming. “They always look like tiny little fragile toy soldiers when they are giving bad news, do they not?” What do you say? No, no, No take me back, where it is going, no, no take me back, I don’t want to leave, let me stay, why? Shimmering, cool, rainbow, washing, down, down, down, down, down into, into the hole, in runs, down into the unknown, my hair stuck, it pulls, the water goes down, down, down, it tugs, it’s wet, suffocating, black, incoherent, the world’s changes. I became not me, I could feel silk, it was purple, it caressed my skin, it was a band of purple silk, it was everything, it shimmered, it reflected light, the whole universe existed for me in this band of silk, I could become anything, I became anything. Take me back.

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