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20.7.10

Peter Pan - the Musical

based on the play by J.M. Barrie
Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh
Music by Mark Charlap

What a wonderful musical! Of course I've seen the Disney movie, but that was ages ago. I love this story and it translates so well to the stage - the magical qualities of the play become moments of pure theatre magic. The music is beautiful (I enjoyed reading the script and playing the soundtrack as I went along:)) and of course, everyone loves the flying bit! And there's a dog! It has all the crowd pleasers!

The thing that I got the most enjoyment from was, surprisingly, reading the stage directions. My guess is that these are carried over from Barrie's original script because they are very enlightening and made me laugh as much, if not more, than the lines. For example in an early scene, Mr. Darling says goodnight to his children and then leaves their nursery with Nana, the dog. Wendy says, "He's chaining Nana up." The stage direction that follows reads:
This unfortunately is what he is doing, though we cannot see him. Let us hope that he then retires to his study, looks up the word "temper" in his Thesaurus, and under the influence of those benign pages becomes a better man. 
Even better than that might be the stage direction that precedes Hook's first entrance. It reads:
Cruelest jewel in that dark setting is Hook himself, cadaverous and blackavised, his hair dressed in long curls which look like black candles about to melt, his eyes blue as the forget-me-not and of a profound insensibility save when he claws, at which time a red spot appears in them. He has an iron double hook instead of a right hand, and it is with this he claws. He is never more sinister than when he is most polite, and the elegance of his diction, the distinction of his demeanor, show him one of a different class from his crew, a solitary among uncultured companions. This courtliness impresses even his victims on the high seas, who note that he always says "Sorry" when prodding them along the plank. A man of indomitable courage, the only thing at which he flinches is the sight of his own blood, which is thick and of an unusual color. In dress he apes the dandiacal associated with Charles II, having heard it said in an earlier period of his career that he bore a strange resemblance to the ill-fated Stuarts. Those, however, who have seen him in the flesh, which is an inadequate term for his earthly tenement, agree that the grimmest part of him is his iron claw.
Now if that isn't the character description of all character descriptions! Well done, Barrie.

Monday Play-a-day: The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard

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