Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Triumph of Love

“They came in a whirl of wanton words,
Those feckless and false young men.
They tore at my heart like hungry birds
and never came back again.
Serenity. Serenity. I never knew any then.”

Princess Leonide was a ruthless figure in 1732. The playwright, Pierre Marivaux, liked to tweak the commedia conventions. He’d place his lovers in farcial situations only to break their hearts. The 1997 musical softened Leonide with a song of remorse, and upstaged her by casting Betty Buckley as Hesione. Leonide’s seduction of the prince and his uncle were played for broad comedy while Hesione got songs of awakening love, self-discovery and heartbreak. Critics praised Buckley, panned the show, and left it to college campuses. A film in 2001 awakened some regional interest in the play but the story remains an acquired taste.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Adapting Alice in Wonderland

Oz books have a quest structure that lends itself to adaptation. Wonderland books do not. Walt Disney managed to give Alice a small arc and some introspective ballads but the film was criticized for a "lack of heart." Recent musical adaptations have taken great liberties to give Alice a goal and an antagonist.

1985's Alice is pursued by a terrifying Godzilla-like Jabberwocky... and meets an equally terrifying Carol Channing.

2011's Wonderland ages Alice up to explore adult neuroses. Why is her inner child represented as a  dominatrix? Well she's got some issues.

2015's sets the whole thing in cyberspace as a group of teens use their online avatars to cope with their anxiety's. Some critics found it brilliant while others found it incomprehensible. 

TV, films and video games have since turned Wonderland's characters into figures of fun, action and horror. Who's your favorite Alice?