Jupiter is the first bright object visible in the evening sky here. It’s not the first celestial object, because the moon is usually visible from as early as three in the afternoon, and it’s not the first star. It’s bright, and doesn’t twinkle (planets don’t twinkle; stars do,) and it is a constant which, despite it’s composition of mostly hydrogen gas, makes it a comfort. When I lean out the window each evening to close the shutters, I look for Jupiter.
But it’s Venus that I’m thinking of.
When Caitlin and I were in the Picasso museum in Antibes, I speculated whether any human figure with breasts made a Venus. Picasso’s Nu couché au lit bleu and Nu couché au lit blanc, displayed on facing walls, said ‘Venus’ to me. They are mostly composed of abstract geometrical shapes, yes, but in there is a reclining woman. It’s undoubtedly the breasts that make clear the figure is female (though to be fair, men have pecs & nipples too: yet a ‘u’ shaped curve denotes an undeniable feminine roundness,) and in blanc, I see female hips (or buttocks).
The idea of the Venus is visible everywhere, from Picasso’s sketches and paintings to the chocolate shop to the ‘pregnant Mary’ santon figurine we saw for sale. It was accompanied by a proudly-displayed laminated article showing how the figure had caused quite a controversy.
The Anatomical Venus is, crucially, pregnant, so in my play, themes of fecundity, ripeness, and fertility are important, along with the character being loving, maternal, and domestic. These stereotypes of womanhood first are directed towards the lover, and are even more important to the story: the care-giving and needing care, feeding and being fed: animalistic, ‘nesting’ desires. The play is also, greatly, about hunger: cravings both carnal and for carne; the overwhelming desire for flesh – to eat, to love, to work with. To create. How the desire to create something new can engender the greatest destruction.