Saturday, November 17, 2007

'into the woods'

A note to my fellow parents: Despite its fairy tale themes, "Into the Woods" might be a little intense for your young child.

For those not familiar with it, "Into the Woods" is a musical by Stephen Sondheim that strings together an assortment of Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Included are Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk and an original fairy tale by Sondheim, that serves as bridging material. We will call "The Baker and His Wife." The stories all blend into a coherent and entertainingly light-hearted first act that ends with everyone living happily ever after.

The second act shows what happens after "Happily Ever After." This is when the Princes Charming grow bored with the wives they pursued so hard in the first act and are now pining after Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. This is when the Baker and his Wife have their child and must now deal with the realities of having a baby. More importantly, this is when the giant's wife comes looking for the boy who repaid her hospitality with theft and murder.

We've been listening to the revival soundtrack for the better part of a month, and the girls and I even have had a discusson about who deserves the blame for the giantess' rampage through the kingdom. (There's a whole song dedicated to this question.)

For her birthday, we got Evangeline a DVD of the original production of "Into the Woods" starring Bernadette Peters, and spent the evening tonight watching it.

The move night was great fun, the girls loved it, and now are curious to see other plays and musicals we have on video. Still, it got a little intense. Around the time the giantess had destroyed the baker's house, wrecked the castle, stepped on Rapunzel, crushed the baker's wife beneath a falling tree, and thrown the narrator to his death, and everyone was arguing over whose fault it was and whether they should hand Jack over to the giantess for justice, I glanced over at Rachel. She was looking a little undone. Her blue eyes were wide and she was trembling.

Luckily her mother was sitting right next to her. I told Rachel that her mother looked scared, and maybe she could calm her down and remind her that everything would work out all right in the end. She grabbed on and held her mother tight and told her all those things, and we watched the rest of the movie without further incident.

Maybe she's not ready for "Arsenic and Old Lace."

Copyright © 2007 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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