Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cinderella: Afterthoughts

Stunning, spectacular, fantastic…now with photos!

Yes, we went to see Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. No, the audience was not all girls, though we saw quite a few princesses scattered through the crowd.

A family affair. Photo/Jacob Bowdoin, Hilltop News

I never knew before that there were so many ways to take off and try on a shoe.

From the crowded marketplace to the stately ballroom, Corban Theatre staged an elegant and impressive performance. Nothing dragged. Nothing stopped moving for a moment, even when the entire chorus froze behind Cinderella and Prince Christopher for their romantic duet.

 The ballroom at the palace. Photo/Jacob Bowdoin, Hilltop News

The stage design and theatrical effects shone, with moonlight lamps, magic fires, and a rotating set. Still, as amazing as stage effects can be, this is theater—the most amazing thing that can happen on stage comes from the actors. It’s what happens when an actor loses himself in his role or an actress focuses the audience’s attention so intently on this cute pumpkin over here that it actually becomes the elaborate orange coach rolling there across the other side of the stage. In movies, it’s called CGI, but on stage, it’s magic.

And then, there were the king’s attempts to reassure his wife that they don’t need an expensive ball—“Our son isn’t unhappy. I asked him if he was happy, and he said he was fine!”

Not to mention that this is an utterly naïve king, who believes that “Of course, they love me—I’m the king.”

Slight pause.

“They do love me, don’t they?”

As with contrasting view of happiness, the play can be seen through two different interpretations.
The Normal View would consider it an unbelievably lovely and romantic story. Cinderella and Prince Christopher marry and live happily after! (Should I call that a spoiler?)

The Contrarian View, on the other hand, would feel sorry for the stepsisters. I mean, here they are, stuck with an incredibly pushy mother—“…because even if you don’t get the prince, you are going to get married this year…”—and personality quirks aside, they hardly get a fair chance, the way Cinderella sweeps in with help from her Fairy Godmother. I know most women want to be Cinderella. Sometimes, though—lacking the fairy godmother—life seems more to follow the tune of “why must the prince love a girl who is merely lovely…why can’t the prince love a girl who is merely me?”

Besides—even if you get to be Cinderella, even if everything is so beautiful you think you’re dreaming, do you really want a guy to say something like “I suppose you’re dreaming now that I’m about to kiss you?” Really?

Prince Christopher and Portia. Photo/Jacob Bowdoin, Hilltop News.

Much better was the Fairy Godmother’s folderal and fiddle-de-dee, “No, I’m not going to the ball. I’ve been to thousands and I couldn’t possibly stand another one.”

Apart from the Normal View and the Contrarian View, Director Tammy McGinnis introduced a third view, presenting Cinderella as the story of an abused woman, who manages to escape her situation with the godmother’s help. McGinnis used Corban’s production to draw attention to women caught in human trafficking, specifically through the Cinderella Campaign and a partnership with Share Hope International.
Getting ready for the party. Photo/Jacob Bowdoin, Hilltop News

P.S. For slight change of pace, Corban Theatre is already planning to stage The Hound of the Baskervilles in March.

(Edited 12/1/2011, by Audrey)


The Front said...

“why must the prince love a girl who is merely lovely…why can’t the prince love a girl who is merely me?”

...probably because most fairy tale princes are airheads.

Krista M.V. said...

Oh, wow! I wish I could have seen it! Looks amazing! :)

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