A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Robert Falls and Seth Bockley, the co-directors and adaptors that turned Roberto Bolaño’s 900 page novel into a play for the Goodman Theater. We spoke about the atmosphere of Bolaño’s novel, how to capture that on stage, and what that illusive title might mean.
Monika Zaleska: 2666 starts with a Charles Baudelaire quote, “An oasis of horror in a desert of boredom.” I was wondering how you tried to capture that atmosphere—the feel of Bolaño’s universe—in this production.
Seth Bockley: We want to honor Bolaño, to convey the feeling we got when reading the novel. It’s a book that calls to mind the word “uncanny” quite a bit. We’ve talked about David Lynch and the feeling his movies have—the feeling that something just off-screen, or just below the surface is lurking, some kind of threat, and that provides a kind of ominous tension. What is beautiful about that Baudelaire quote, of course, is the contradiction. “An oasis of horror”—how can horror be an oasis? How can we put the worst aspects of humanity, that is to say, a propensity towards evil, the propensity towards mass murder as evidenced in Santa Teresa or in the Holocaust, next to humanity’s greatest accomplishments, or greatest attempts at beauty? Bolaño’s looking at those extreme contradictions and we want to put those juxtapositions into the room, as best we can.
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