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Secret meanings within the songs and actions? 
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Young Hoofer
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Post Secret meanings within the songs and actions?
My choir instructor did this show in college so he knows what to be prepared for to do our show this year lol. But we were talking about the "hidden meanings" in some of the things in the show.

Like in the OBC the wolf.. was very.. um.. sexualish in his "hello little girl".

and How when the princes sing agony the line about " UP in a tower were yours was but higher .... a thicket of brire."- a meaning of um.. more sexual terms.

Was it just his perception of it, or has anyone else thought of this?

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Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:04 pm
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As you could probably tell from visiting the many topics in this forum there has been extensive debate as to the meanings and possible innuendos in the lyrics of many of the songs.

There is a whole topic devoted to the Wolf's Carnal lusts towards Little Red. If you've seen the video of the Original Cast Production you'll see that the Big Bad Wolf was anatomically correct and for a reason. The Wolfs lust to feed can either be taken literally, he wants to eat Little Red, or it could be taken in the alternate way he wants to sexually consume Little Red. The lyrics are left to be ambiguous just for that very reason. A lot of how the line is taken has to do with the audience, they might think the lyrics to mean one thing regardless as to how your wolf portrays himself or sings the words. So in respect to the wolf I would say your choir instructors interpretation is "correct" only in that its a fully reasonable explanation for the song.

In reference to the line in the Agony (Reprise) I think he maybe over reaching a bit with taking the lyric to mean something sexual. The two princes are trying to one up each other in both Agonies. In the first one they are trying to compete as to which Princess is the more fair and harder to court (Cinderella's running away vs. Rapunzel's being trapped in the tower). In Agony (Reprise) When Cinderella's Prince says the "Up in a tower like yours was but higher" he is describing how Sleeping Beauty (his new love interest) is trapped in a similar way like Rapunzel was but in this case it is much more dangerous and will be harder to rescue because the tower is much taller and theirs a thicket of brier (thorns) surrounding it. So in that respect I think your choir instructor is reading just a bit too much into that tower lyric in reference to what I can only see as him thinking it as some sort of phallic symbol?

I just recommend the members of your cast read the lyrics and words of their musical with an open mind. Only you can read your characters lines and discover what you think the line means and only you can try to portray that meaning to the best of your ability. Look to the OBC recording and video for inspiration but please don't try to mimic any of their actions, that is the cheap way out and no copy is ever as good as the original ;)

P.S. if you want a song that has many possible innuendo and hidden meanings just look to Jack's Giants in the Sky ... I'll let you figure it out ;)


Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:04 am
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mikey79097 wrote:
As you could probably tell from visiting the many topics in this forum there has been extensive debate as to the meanings and possible innuendos in the lyrics of many of the songs.


That's because faeries tales are nothing but symbolism.


Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:32 am
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Young Hoofer
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No one else in the cast besdies me has talked to him about this. What brought up the conversation was the OBC recording that we watched in class and i questioned why the wolf did what he did. Thats when he mentioned what his choir director has told him when he did that show in college. No one else in the cast has asked these questions. I was just curious. And DONT worry about us using what they did in the OBC recording. We always turn it into something you would of never thought of when you think of the show. Our director has a way of doing that.

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Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:21 am
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I have to agree that using the Agony lines as innuendos is reaching just a bit too far. Not every little thing in every fairy tale (and not every little thing in Into the Woods) is a symbol for sex.


Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:21 am
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Post Re: Secret meanings within the songs and actions?
theater_girl92 wrote:
My choir instructor did this show in college so he knows what to be prepared for to do our show this year lol. But we were talking about the "hidden meanings" in some of the things in the show.

Like in the OBC the wolf.. was very.. um.. sexualish in his "hello little girl".

and How when the princes sing agony the line about " UP in a tower were yours was but higher .... a thicket of brire."- a meaning of um.. more sexual terms.

Was it just his perception of it, or has anyone else thought of this?


Yes, yes, of course. This is how I take it, based on my knowledge of the fairy tales themselves (we disected them in my college English course last year)

Wolf wants to consume Little Red sexually. Her cape being red is for a reason. It signifies lust. End of story. She strays on her path looking for flowers. Flowers symbolize virginity/sexuality. She wants to explore her sexuality. In fact, one can even say the entire phrase "straying from the path" explains the fact Little Red goes from a virgin to an infidel. Actually, to support this, the Witch says to Little Red in "The Last Midnight", "Broke a little vow". This is NOT directed towards the B. Wife I dont think either, because she's not present, and the end of the line is, "Did you?" She's clearly talkng to Little Red there. And we all know about the vow of chastity.

Now, moving on, about your claim with the princes. Although it's not exactly what you're thinking, it's close. Rapunzel's tower IS a phallic symbol, and in a way I guess symbolizes her prince's... member, shall we say? Rapunzel was placed in that tower so she would never be touched by a man sexually (as the witch was when she was young, but that's another story). It's the entire irony of the story. She's put in a phallic-like tower, which is suppose to protect her from a man, and her prince comes to claim her (possessing a phallice of his own). It's actually kind of funny when you think about it.

Oh, and there's way more stuff you haven't even picked up on yet. I'll just briefly mention them.

The song "I Know Things Now" by Little Red. All about discovering her sexuality. Just listen to the lyrics. It's pure symbolic genius.

"Giants in the Sky". All about Jack...becoming a... man, anatomically at least. Remember people, like the tower, the beanstalk is a phallic symbol! And also like the beanstalk... Jack "grew and grew" as well haha. And I ain't talking about how tall he was either.

The Witch's Rap in "The Prologue". It's completely sexual. Her beans represented her virginity and how she lost it, thus causing her mother to become angry with her and transform her, and therefore causing no man to ever touch her again. This is why she won't let her daughter fall into the same trap she did, and imprisons her out of fear. In fact, one can argue that the Baker's father "taking the Witch's beans" can symbolize him actually raping her. After all, she says, "He was robbing me.. raping me". Symbolism, or literal? Ugh, Sondheim is such a genius.

I believe there is more too, I just can't think right now. I hope this helps. Sorry if I rambled.

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Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:53 pm
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Young Hoofer
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Oh no you didn't ramble at all!! Haha
Ibelieve that there is alot of hidden meanings behind things in Into the Woods. I actually found out very recently that in the early 1700's A red cape was worn by prostitutes. Which just basically just confirms the "hidden message" behind little reds story.. But yea I made this thread so people can discuss what they think of the meanings behind the things in the show. I mean, everyone is entitled to their own opinions on what it is exactly supposed to mean lol

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Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:40 pm
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right, i totally understand. what i mentioned about the phallic symbols though, you'll find that's usually agreed among many literary thinkers. it's a very freudian concept. you must understand, these stories were written in such a time period where you could be killed for speaking out against society/government, so many of them have political and societal commentaries on them.

a primary example of this, that i can think of, is jack and the beanstalk. he goes into the land of the giants, steals from them, and even kills the male, which could be a parallel to the king. in the end, jack, a representative of the peasant folk, prevails over the indulgent giants... aka the royals. at least, that's how i see it.

many of them are also very sexual and gender bias, a sign of the times as well. little red, rapunzel and even sleeping beauty (which, if you read the original Grimm tale of that, it's VERY sexual, the prince RAPES sleeping beauty while she's sleeping!!) are examples of this of course.

in my opinion though, overall, they're just brilliant, because they're all metaphorical, but presented in the most harmless way: as children's stories. oh... here i am again, rambling lol. but yeah, just my thoughts :)

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Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:01 pm
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Oh man, so here's the thing. I would love to elaborate some more but there are like... five threads in this forum where we've discussed the same stuff.

I will say though, since we haven't mentioned the Princes before, that although all that about the tower is true, I don't think that within the context of "Agony" that it's meant as anything more than brotherly competition.


Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:46 pm
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Baker wrote:
Oh man, so here's the thing. I would love to elaborate some more but there are like... five threads in this forum where we've discussed the same stuff.

I will say though, since we haven't mentioned the Princes before, that although all that about the tower is true, I don't think that within the context of "Agony" that it's meant as anything more than brotherly competition.


You assume brothers dont compete for, um, size?

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Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:53 pm
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I don't think it's meant to be taken that way. Can it? Sure, if you want it to. Was it intended? I highly doubt it.


Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:19 pm
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Young Hoofer
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Well to say something about what the baker said about the many other posts on this forum.. i created a new one.. ONLY because the last time i posted something on a "dead thread" it was left alone.. hence the reason for my starting a new one

To go on about the symbolism of things. Who knows what Sondheim and Lapine meant when they wrote some of these things. Everyones entitled to his or her own opinion. Its just cool to hear some of the different possibly theories that people have come up with.

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Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:01 pm
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