Plot for Carmen, as seen by a simple chorus member
This is what I’ve been doing for the past couple of months…
Carmen, a gipsy working in a fag factory in Seville, gets into a fight with another young woman over the subject of donkeys and big bottoms. We all join in with great enthusiasm until the single tenor breaks us up. Don Jose is the corporal told to escort her to prison. He is a simple, country lad who loves his mother rather too much. His mother wants him to marry the equally simple country girl who acts as a kind of postwoman throughout the opera. Carmen takes a shine to Don Jose, and seduces him. He lets her escape, and they agree to meet later in the pub where she also moonlights as a singer.
At the pub, Carmen’s busy dancing with her mates and flirting with the soldiers. We get very excited about Escamillo, the bullfighter from Granada, and he takes us off to buy us all drinks at another bar. Don Jose comes in and catches Carmen about to meet up with another soldier. He gets violently jealous. Carmen calls on her gipsy smuggler friends (that’s us), and we tell Don Jose to leave the army and become a merry smuggler, like us. Don Jose and the Smuggler Captain tie up the soldier, and we all march off with our contraband.
Yes, I am wearing a Monsoon dress with a non-matching shawl. I’m supposed to be a gipsy smuggler ffs!
Interval. The bar does a rather nice wine selection.
Lots of creeping around a forest made up of old suitcases and pretending to be rocks, while the soloists sing about the merry life of the smuggler. Carmen is having serious doubts about Don Jose and none of her friends like him either. She says she’s fated to die with him (duh duh duhhh…). Don Jose goes nuts when he meets Escamillo the bullfighter. Escamillo tells him that he’s heard that Carmen has dumped her soldier boyfriend because he’s a crazy jealous stalker type, so he reckons he’s in with a chance. Don Jose goes nuts (again), but then his simple country fiance appears out of nowhere and tells him that his mother is sick. We tell him that he’s not cut out to be a smuggler anyway, so off he goes. He tells Carmen it’s not over. Carmen’s all “whatEVER…where’s that toreador chappie?”
We’re all at the bullfight and there’s a big mad procession involving far too many children, and you’d better buy a fan off of my gang or there’ll be trouble. Escamillo enters with Carmen on her arm. They’re all: “Wow! We really love each other! This is grate!”
Carmen’s friends enter to tell her that Don Jose is stalking around, and she is well doomed.
More confusion as we go off to watch the bullfight, dragging the kids with us. Now, we’ve got our backs to the action from this bit until the end; but from what I hear. Carmen meets Don Jose again. Don Jose does the “take me back, I can save your soul…” routine. Carmen speaks about herself in the third person a lot, and we interrupt with carefully phrased comments about bullfighting and doom. Carmen tells Don Jose to get out of her life. Don Jose stabs her. We all cheer. The end.
There then follows the longest curtain call you have ever experienced.