Whilst I have already experienced a wide range of London Visual/Viral culture, I have to say that Cantina is different due to the ability to blur the lines between reality and fantasy. Allow me to document some of its more memorable provocations, which make the viewer become conscious of something they did not know before walking into this spectacular show.
Cantina instigates a conversation, a thought process, and raises questions about gender sexuality, the dark underbelly of London society, but most importantly explores the rapture of desire and the tension between harsh reality and escapist fantasy. Through power of this show flows from the ability to escape everyday reality and transport audiences to a life filled with old Hollywood glamour, passion, eroticism, vitality, and fortitude. David Lynch (who I discuss later) explains why he paints without color and this quote illuminates the transition from reality to fantasy through art. In this quote Lynch describes why he doesn’t use color because it’s too real and limiting. “Black has depth. It's like a little egress; you can go into it, and because it keeps on continuing to be dark, the mind kicks in, and a lot of things that are going on in there become manifest. And you start seeing what you're afraid of. You start seeing what you love, and it becomes like a dream.” This quote reminds me of the seamless journey from reality to fantasy in which the audience experiences in Cantina. The last line on the promotional material for Cantina expresses this idea perfectly…"So, leave your real life at the door, step back in time and welcome to the deliciously dark work that is Cantina.” The audience has the ability to visit the dark underbelly of London society and express their sexual desires and live out their fantasies. But we are only sadly reminded that we are just spectators of this wonderful world, when the curtain drops and we are thrown back into reality. If only we could live in the world of Cantina…
For those who live in this fantasy world, are beautiful creatures with superhuman strength and live out their deepest darkest sexual desires without shame or regret or the fear of being judged by others. This fantasy world represents the dark underbelly of London society (the show is even produced by underbelly productions!)
Speaking of the underbelly of societies reminds me of the film by David Lynch, titled Blue Velvet. In Blue Velvet, the underbelly of society is represented by the dark criminal activity perpetrated by Frank and his gang. On the other hand, the dark underbelly of London society presented in Cantina is not filled with violent crime but filled with sexual desires, fetishes, S&M, and fantasy. The same way Cantina sparked provocation, Lynch’s surreal, and dreamlike scenes also caused provocation among viewers.