Transcript: Lupe Rodriguez | Oct 17, 1997

[Piano music plays]

The program opens with a row of ballerinas en pointe. The image turns to a faded black-and-white video of an old man sitting down on a bench. The title of the program slides across the screen in numerous fonts and colours. It reads: TVO Arts.

The scene turns to Lupe Rodriguez standing in a spacious display room inside of a museum. The floors consist of long slabs of wood. The walls are painted a muted red with dark brown molding. An elaborate gold-plated table sits in the middle of the room. Classic paintings adorn the walls. Lupe is in his late thirties with wavy, black hair that reaches her shoulders. She wears a black suit with a lime green shirt, gold earrings, and a gold necklace.

Lupe says WELCOME TO TVO
AT THE AGO.
I'M LUPE RODRIGUEZ.
COME AND JOIN ME WITH
A GROUP OF FRIENDS AS
WE EXPLORE SOME OF THE
WORKS OF THE ART GALLERY
OF ONTARIO FOCUSING ON THE
THEME OF MYTHS AND LEGENDS.

Fast images show sculptures and paintings from classic to modern times. Now Lupe stands in front of a small group of people of all ages. She stands before a painting in the Pre-Raphaelite style. A caption reads "‘I´m half sick of shadows!’ said the Lady of Shallot. John William Waterhouse." The painting portrays the Lady of Shallot taking a reprieve from her weaving work. A loom sits before her with an intricate design, rolls of colourful yarn lay beside her feet. The Lady has long, dark brown with a youthful and wistful face. She wears a flowing red dress, her hands pulled back behind her head. A stone window shows a young couple standing next to the water’s edge, a stone bridge only metres away.

Lupe says HERE WE HAVE A PAINTING
BY THE ARTIST
JOHN WILLIAM WATERHOUSE.
AND EVEN THOUGH IT WAS PAINTED
IN 1915, IN FACT, IT'S A
VERY, VERY TYPICAL PORTRAIT
YOU COULD SAY OF THE
TREATMENT OF WOMEN
IN THE 19th CENTURY.
AND EVEN THOUGH IT'S NOT A
MYTH, IT'S BASED ON A LEGEND.
NOW TO GIVE YOU A
LITTLE BIT OF A HINT,
THEY'VE TAKEN TWO
LINES OF THE POEM,
"I'M HALF-SICK OF SHADOWS
SAID THIS LADY OF SHALOTT."
DOES ANYBODY KNOW THE
POEM AND WHO WROTE IT?

A teenage female with short blond hair says IT'S WRITTEN BY TENNYSON,
AND IT'S JUST THE STORY OF
THE LADY OF SHALOTT WHO
WAS CONFINED TO A TOWER
BECAUSE OF A CURSE,
AND SHE HAD TO SIT IN
A TOWER AND
WEAVE ALL DAY.
AND SHE'D WEAVE PICTURES
OF REFLECTIONS THAT SHE
SAW IN THE MIRROR BECAUSE
SHE COULDN'T LOOK OUT
THE WINDOW.
AND IF SHE LOOKED OUT
THE WINDOW INTO THE OUTSIDE
OR IF SHE LEFT THE TOWER
THEN SHE WOULD DIE.
AND ONE DAY SHE WAS
LOOKING IN THE REFLECTION
AND SHE SAW SIR LANCELOT,
WHICH IS ONE OF THE
KNIGHTS OF THE
ROUND TABLE.
AND SHE BASICALLY FELL
IN LOVE WITH HIM
AND SHE DECIDED THAT
SHE WOULD TAKE HER CHANCES
AND LEAVE THE TOWER.
WHICH SHE DID.
AND SHE ENDED UP DYING.

Lupe says YEAH, IT'S AMAZING AS
A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION
YOU HAVE IT IN BOOKS,
YOU HAVE IT IN PAINTING,
AND I THINK ALSO THERE'S A
PIECE OF MUSIC, RIGHT,
THAT'S BEEN INSPIRED BY THIS?

The short-haired blond teenage female says THERE'S A SONG THAT
LOREENA McKENNITT DOES,
AND SHE'S A LOCAL
SINGER FROM STRATFORD.
AND SHE TAKES THE WHOLE
POEM AND DOES IT
RATHER BEAUTIFULLY
TO A MELODY THAT SHE
CAME UP WITH HERSELF.

Lupe says BE GREAT TO ACTUALLY
LOOK AT THE PAINTING
AS WE LISTEN
TO THE SONG.
NOW WHO CAN PERHAPS
LOOK AT THIS PAINTING
FOR ME AND TELL ME
HOW THE SENSE OF THE
CONFINEMENT OF THIS
WOMAN IS CAPTURED
BY THE ARTIST?

A teenage female with curly brown hair says YOU CAN TELL BY HER
POSTURE... LIKE HER ARMS
ARE ALL TWISTED UP
BEHIND HER HEAD,
AND THE WAY THAT HER HEAD
IS TURNED BACK, SHE LOOKS
REALLY VULNERABLE.
AND YOU CAN ALSO TELL
BY THE VERTICAL COMPONENTS
IN THE PAINTING.
THE PILLARS AND THERE'S
A WHOLE BUNCH OF VERTICAL
DIAGONALS THAT ARE KIND
OF POINTING TOWARDS HER,
KIND OF OPPRESSING HER,
FORCING HER INTO
THE SPACE OF THE PAINTING.

Lupe says IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE IN
TERMS OF LIGHT OR COLOUR?

A teenage female with long blond hair says ALL YOU SEE IS THE LIGHT
COMING IN FROM THE
REFLECTION OF THE MIRROR.
AND THE REST OF THE
ROOM IS ENTIRELY DARK,
AND IT MAKES YOU FEEL
CLAUSTROPHOBIC YOURSELF
JUST BY LOOKING AT IT.

Lupe says YEAH, VERY
RESTRICTED.
HOW DOES THE STORY ITSELF
REVEAL TO US THE ROLE
OF WOMEN IN
VICTORIAN SOCIETY?
WHAT DOES IT SAY
ABOUT WOMEN?

An old woman with medium-length brown hair says WELL, IN VICTORIAN TIMES
WOMEN WERE EXPECTED TO
STAY INSIDE THE HOME
AND PAINT PRETTY PICTURES
OR MAKE NEEDLEPOINT WORKS.
WHEREAS THE OUTSIDE WORLD,
THE LARGER WORLD, WAS FOR
MEN ONLY.

Lupe says NOT VERY
NICE, EH?
FROM OUR POINT
OF VIEW TODAY.
NOW, IN FACT, WHEN YOU
LOOK AT THIS PAINTING,
IT CAN BE LOOKED AT
TWO DIFFERENT WAYS.
OR PERHAPS EVEN MORE.
ONE OF THE INTERPRETATIONS
IS THAT OF THE ROLE OF
WOMEN IN THIS SOCIETY
AND THE NEED TO GET AWAY.
SHE'S FALLEN IN
LOVE, RIGHT?
ISN'T THAT NATURAL?
IT'S THE SEXUAL AWAKENING
OF A YOUNG GIRL.
HOW DOES THE COSTUME
REALLY TELL US ABOUT
THIS SEXUAL AWAKENING?

A teenage male says JUST THE COLOUR RED
REPRESENTS THE HEART
AND LOVE AND OPENNESS.

The curly brown-haired female says THE COLOURS ARE REALLY
BRIGHT AND REALLY VIBRANT,
AND THEY REALLY
CLING TO HER BODY
SO YOU CAN REALLY SEE
HER BODY SHAPE THROUGH IT.

Lupe says AND WHERE'S HER BRAIN?
WHERE'S HER BRAIN?

The curly brown-haired female says OH, SHE'S OFF
IN THE CLOUDS.

Everyone laughs.

Lupe says SHE IS OFF
IN THE CLOUDS.
SHE'S JUST NOT INTO THE
LOOM AT ALL, RIGHT?
SHE'S LIKE IN
ANOTHER SPACE.
SO WHAT WE HAVE IS
THE IDEA OF THIS NEED
TO GET AWAY, TO
REALLY LIVE LIFE.
BUT ANOTHER INTERPRETATION
OF THIS PIECE IS THAT
SHE CAN OFTEN REPRESENT
THE ROLE OF THE ARTIST
IN SOCIETY.
AND THE EXPECTATION WAS
THAT THE ARTIST SHOULD
BE SOMEONE WHO SHOULD
OBSERVE LIFE FROM
A DISTANCE AND NOT
BE DIRECTLY INVOLVED
SO THAT HE COULD
ACTUALLY COMMENT ON IT.
SO WE DO HAVE A CHOICE
AS TO HOW WE INTERPRET IT.

A black slate appears. The top portion of the painting is shown. A caption reads "The Lady of Shallot, John William Waterhouse. 1915. Art Gallery of Ontario."

The end slate appears. It reads "A production of TVO Ontario. Copyright 1997, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority."

Watch: Lupe Rodriguez