Monday, April 16, 2007

it's all about the dress

First off, this week my friend Raquel has written both a lovely tribute of sorts to Kurt Vonnegut and a great rumination on fashion and fashion writing in terms of social responsibility and art. I love reading her fashion stuff because it makes even me (who has never had more than a very passing interest in the world of fashion) interested and informed-feeling, not only about fashion, but about the underlying assumptions that it rests on. Short summary: she's awesome, and you should check it out.
Secondly, I've been playing in Loyola University's production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella this week, which has been kind of interesting. I've always really liked folk/fairy tales, and it can be so fascinating to look at them as an adult. Mostly, this one has just made me realize that A) this particular story is full of weird details that are only believable by extreme suspension of disbelief and more faith in magic than I currently possess, and B) Rodgers and Hammerstein are soooooo cheesy. But anyway... I sit in the pit wondering, why doesn't Cinderella leave her stepmother? (She says in the play that her father wouldn't like it if he were alive. There's also how a young beautiful single woman would make her way in the world and the perils she would face.) Where is the story taking place? How could the shoe possibly fit just one person? Does she have size 11 2/3 feet or something? Why does the prince fail to recognize his true love immediately? A change of clothing seems far too much along the lines of Clark Kent for my taste. But aside from weird story stuff, the musical also has some really aweful lines. My favorite is when the fairy godmother is trying to convince the steward to try the shoe on Cinderella. Her persuasion consists of this line: "Well, she is a girl." There's also the song entitled "Do I love you because you're beautiful?" Aside from being a terrible song lyric/title, that seems to kind of sum it all up for me. Like many fairy tales (especially, perhaps, the watered-down versions we treat our kids to), this comes down to physical appearance. The two lovebirds are smitten with an idea of each other far more than their actual personalities, it seems. Even though they spend some time seeming to deny it (I can't hear most of the actual lyrics because I'm playing) that seems to be the final verdict.

1 comment:

Raquel Laneri said...

R&H's Cinderella is completely ridiculous! Did you ever see the movie version of the musical with Leslie Ann Warren? It used to play constantly on TV when we were kids and my sisters and I thought it was so lame. Now I have that "Impossible" song in my head. Noooooo!!!!

Btw, thanks for the shout-out :)