Lucinda Childs in the original production of Einstein on the Beach.
Photo © Philippe Gras, 1976
The following is excerpted from a 2012 interview with choreographer Lucinda Childs, who was one of the principal performers in the world premiere production of Einstein on the Beach in 1976.
On the “air-conditioned supermarket” speech:
During the whole third act, I was saying the supermarket speech, and Bob had asked me to say something about the beach. It ended up being called the supermarket speech, because I talked about avoiding the beach, I didn’t talk about actually being at the beach. And I talked about the fact that in the supermarket, they were selling these strange looking bathing caps.
Anyway, Bob picked this out of a whole discussion that we had about the beach, and he said “I like that part, when you were talking about the supermarket and seeing some bathing caps, and how you didn’t really want to buy one, but that you were reminded about… that you had been avoiding the beach.”
And somehow, just thinking about the quality of Patty Hearst and the whole quality of delivering that text is a little bit dreamlike, it’s a little bit like how you would talk to a very close friend on the phone, you know, because it’s just strange information: “You know, I was in a prematurely air-conditioned supermarket, and there was this, and this, and this, and this,”... I mean, it’s sort of a level of very intimate, and just a little bit dreamlike. I like that, and I like thinking about her in that kind of state she was in. Not necessarily what she had been through, but how she would be.