Anaïs Nin is a ‘monodrama’, a musical stage play for one voice (Cristina Zavalloni), an ensemble of eight musicians (unconducted) on stage, and projected film fragments. The voice, Anaïs Nin, sings of her love affair with her father, the composer and pianist Joaquín Nin, whom she meets again after an absence of twenty years. Her lovers, René Allendy, Antonin Artaud and Henry Miller, get their word in both on film and on tape, recorded by the expressive singer Han Buhrs. These films are a compilation of existing material as well as new fragments.
The piece opens with a short TV-interview with Anaïs Nin, in which she says that she is forever restless, feverishly excited, and that nothing will satisfy her. ‘Only Henry senses the monster, because he too is possessed. I too will leave a scar upon the world.’
We see Anaïs Nin and Antonin Artaud making a romantic walk. On stage Nin sings of her ‘night of ecstasy’ with him.
Then we see a film of someone making a speech and we hear René Allendy, Anaïs Nin’s psychiatrist, talking about jealousy. She sings about her affair with him and of Artaud’s criticism of her behaviour. Artaud: ‘What have you done to Allendy? You have done him harm.’
Following this Anaïs Nin sings about her renewed meeting with her father (film images). She is interrupted by a furious Henry Miller, but continues her story about the relationship with Joaquín. After a dramatic climax she phantasizes in a letter to her father about a moment of great peace, while sitting on his bed.
Later, in the room where Henry Miller lies asleep, Anaïs sings of her loneliness and perpetual hunger.
As the piece comes to a close, a recording of Joaquín Nin’s arrangement of a Basque Christmas carol is heard off stage, a gramophone disk from the thirties.