Here is George Galloway reminiscing in When I first met him 35 years ago Darling was pressing Trotskyite tracts on bewildered railwaymen at Waverley Station in Edinburgh. He was a supporter of the International Marxist Group, whose publication was entitled the Black Dwarf.
Into the Words by Thomas Uhm Into the Woods, the fairy-tale musical written by the award-winning team of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, is one of Sondheim's most frequently performed works, which should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the play. There is an ensemble cast with excellent parts, beautiful music, a compelling and engaging story, and, perhaps best of all, a feel-good ending.
For these reasons, among others, Into the Woods has become a standard among school, community, and regional theaters. However, in the formulation of this fantastic quest of a Baker, his wife and many other more familiar fairy-tale characters, Lapine and Sondheim have crafted a show that still manages to strike very close to home.
There are messages and motifs throughout the show that go beyond the framework of a typical flight of fancy, and continue to stay with us long after we have left the theater. The temptation exists to forget about these sobering themes in the pursuit of light-hearted entertainment, but these are lessons that cannot be easily dismissed, and they provide the backbone of this piece.
At its core, Into the Woods is not so much about fantasy as it is about reality. It is difficult to encapsulate all of the disparate messages of Into the Woods into a single theme, but the engine that drives everything else in the show is the absence of absolutes.
There are many smaller issues, such as tolerance and understanding, which fall into the greater category of challenging the assumptions we make about ourselves and others.
A vast majority of the characters in the play are definitely not what they seem, despite our instinct or desire to neatly categorize them. Who are the good guys? The Baker prepares to leave his son out of his own self-pity and insecurity, Little Red Riding Hood kills the wolf and makes a spectacle out of wearing his skin, Jack kills the giant stealing a golden harp that neither him nor his mother particularly need, the Baker's Wife commits adultery, etc.
However, these are done in such a way as to make these actions acceptable and understandable, and sometimes, even sympathetic. A major indication that our assumptions about characters are being challenged is the treatment of the princes.
Very little is placed into a Sondheim show without careful deliberation, and one of the strongest and most interesting decisions made in the show is the casting of the same actor to play the Wolf and Cinderella's Prince. The juxtaposition of the Wolf and Cinderella's Prince in Into the Woods is one of the most crucial character decisions in the show, and a barometer of how much a particular director and production staff understand the work.
Double-casting in Into the Woods is a conscious choice that is made to enhance the script and to create intentional links between characters in a show, and the Wolf and Cinderella's Prince are linked together in a number of different ways.
Little Red Riding Hood thinks of herself as a tough adult, and she has always had a fascination with taking care of herself. This independence is manifested her insistence on going through the woods by herself and the absence in the show of a physical mother who directs her.
That autonomy is mirrored in another one of the female characters, the Baker's Wife, who believes in her own ability to get through the woods unharmed. Her self-confidence is so profound that she tries to guide the Baker on his quest, because she feels that he will only be successful with her assistance.
The Wolf and Cinderella's Prince provide opportunities for Little Red and the Baker's Wife to live out their fantasies, to disastrous ends. The methods of the Wolf and Cinderella's Prince are the keys in this equation because of their similarities.
These scenes are also textually linked by the line "one would be so boring", which is spoken to both Little Red and the Baker's Wife. By linking the Wolf and Cinderella's Prince in these ways, Lapine and Sondheim are playing off of the audience expectations for the wolf, as a predatory being, and then using those expectations to subvert the expectations of the prince.
The prince from the first act is, for the most part, a fairly noble figure, and in the absence of a second act the splitting of parts may make some sense. However, starting from Act II Agony, we begin to realize that the Princes are not the noble, essentially good people that we had envisioned, but self-aggrandizing young men.
This transformation becomes complete when Cinderella's Prince seduces the Baker's Wife, when the wolf aspect of the prince's character must come out, and all vestiges of nobility are lost.
That does not make them bad people, but it brings us down to earth about our expectations about princes."I hadn't been beaten up in a movie before and I was very excited by the idea of being clubbed to death." — Stephen Fry, on accepting a role in V for Vendetta.
Into the Woods is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and rutadeltambor.com: Stephen Sondheim.
November 6, Stage: 'Into the Woods,' From Sondheim By FRANK RICH. hen Cinderella, Little Red Ridinghood and their fairy-tale friends venture into the woods in the new Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical, you can be sure that they won't miss the subconscious forest for the picturesque trees.
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Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber: The New Musical (The Great Songwriters) [Stephen Citron] on rutadeltambor.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The New York Times called Stephen Sondheim the greatest and perhaps best known artist in the American musical theater.
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