Thursday, December 13, 2012

Shakespeare at Large

Somehow I managed to go through the entire 1970s and 1980s without ever once seeing "Pippin." Sure, I knew that "Corner of the Sky" song from going to a lot of high school musical auditions, but I never knew a thing about the story.

The only thing I knew about Pippin was that Helena's healing powers in All's Well That Ends Well are so strong that Lafeu describes them as:
... powerful to araise King Pepin, nay,
To give great Charlemain a pen in's hand,
And write to her a love-line.
Last night, I finally made up for lost time by going to the American Repertory Theater's production of "Pippin" directed by Diane Paulus. It was spectacular: Cirque de Soleil meets 8th-century tyranny meets 1970s discontented slacker youth. Who knew?? Only Paulus (whose "Donkey Show" turns "A Midsummer Night's Dream" into an R-rated S&M romp) could bring so much eye candy and leather to Charlemagne's court. Then again, Shakespeare gave Helena some pretty kinky powers over Charlemagne's "pen," and she is able to get a rise out of Pepin, so Paulus is in good interpretive company.

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