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Details on the 1980 Paris production 
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Gargamel wrote:
Would'nt this be considered as "a new play" ? :think:


In my opinion, yes. In reality, a lot of lays are partly composed of one playwright's original text (for example Ibsen's) and one other playwright's textual "improvements". Thus it is actually fragments of two separate plays merged into one hybrid.

But now you contradict your earlier opinion that a new text based on the same story is the same play, if I interpret you correctly.

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Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:18 am
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Hans wrote:
It also contradicts your earlier opinion that a new text based on the same story is the same play, if I interpret you correctly.

That's not what I meant...

To sum up :

I have no problem with any artist doing whatever he wants with another artist's work as long as :
- His name is not hidden (like writing a song with an already existing tune without claiming the work is entirely his own)
- The original work is not definitely altered without the original's author's permission (Basquiat painting over Warhol's painting with his permission)

Everybody then is free to like it or not. As always with art. The fact that we don't like it does not mean it should'nt be done.

I don't like the idea of cutting "I Feel Pretty", but if the performance is publiciced as "abridged version", then I am free to go see it or not.
Nobody ever agues about the fact that there is some "abridged version" of the novel "Les Misérables" that are being published...

I don't like when the 1985 London version of the musical "Les Misérables" is considered "the original version"
:arrow: Because it's not...


Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:39 am
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Gargamel wrote:
- We've seen many versions of the same play
Hans wrote:
When you write "many versions of the same play", I assume you mean "many different interpretations of the same text" as opposed to "many different texts that somehow are the same play".
Gargamel wrote:
Nope. Different versions of the same story.
Hans wrote:
So when you write "many versions of the same play" you mean "different versions of the same story" ?
Gargamel wrote:
Would'nt [a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire with the text replaced with a new text by some dramaturg] be considered as "a new play"?
Hans wrote:
Don’t you now contradict your earlier opinion that a new text based on the same story is the same play?
Gargamel wrote:
That's not what I meant...


That’s confusing. What did you mean? Do you think a play were the old text is substituted for a new text is the same play or not?

Gargamel wrote:
Everybody then is free to like it or not. As always with art. The fact that we don't like it does not mean it should'nt be done.


My opinion has nothing to do with liking something or nor, wether it's an adaptation or something else. It's about making clear what one is talking about: Is it the original text or is it not?

Gargamel wrote:
I don't like the idea of cutting "I Feel Pretty", but if the performance is publiciced as "abridged version", then I am free to go see it or not.


In the examples I have presented have not been presented as anything abridged or adapted. For example the West Side Story I'm using as an example was not advertised as anything else than West Side Story by Laurents/Bernstein/Sondheim/Robbins. It was only through inteviews with the cast and director and through reviews it was reveiled that the show had been "improved". Most didn't bother to point it out at all.

Everyone was free to go and see it, but it was only we who are familiar with West Side Story from before and particularly interrested in musicals that became aware of the fact that this WSS was NOT the WSS the authors had created. The general public was under the impression that this production represented the autors' vision, that the authors's vision had somehow been "improved" and/or that the authors' vision was not relevant.

This production of The Wild Duck is not presented as "The Wild Duck by Bibbi Attentionwhoredramaturgist What'sherface, with mainly the plot and some occational dialogue borrowed from Ibsen's more famous version of the story". It's presented as "Ibsen's The Wild Duck", when it actually is not.

It's a common practice and it happens frequently. It's misleading for the audience.

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Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:35 am
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Hans wrote:
That’s confusing. What did you mean? Do you think a play were the old text is substituted for a new text is the same play or not?


I already explained it in the posts just above.
So because I was not fluent enough to make it clear to you the first time, that means you will throw it to me endlessly ?
What's the point ?

Hans wrote:
In the examples I have presented have not been presented as anything abridged or adapted. For example the West Side Story I'm using as an example was not advertised as anything else than West Side Story by Laurents/Bernstein/Sondheim/Robbins. It was only through inteviews with the cast and director and through reviews it was reveiled that the show had been "improved". Most didn't bother to point it out at all.

Everyone was free to go and see it, but it was only we who are familiar with West Side Story from before and particularly interrested in musicals that became aware of the fact that this WSS was NOT the WSS the authors had created. The general public was under the impression that this production represented the autors' vision, that the authors's vision had somehow been "improved" and/or that the authors' vision was not relevant.

This production of The Wild Duck is not presented as "The Wild Duck by Bibbi Attentionwhoredramaturgist What'sherface, with mainly the plot and some occational dialogue borrowed from Ibsen's more famous version of the story". It's presented as "Ibsen's The Wild Duck", when it actually is not.

It's a common practice and it happens frequently. It's misleading for the audience.


Did I say that I was thinking all that was OK?
Once again, I think I was clear enough.

I don't know you you are arguing with.


Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:08 am
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Gargamel wrote:
So because I was not fluent enough to make it clear to you the first time, that means you will throw it to me endlessly ?What's the point ?


Sorry! I was genuinely interrested in this discussion, and was/am actually confused about you opinion. It was not my intention to be rude.

Gargamel wrote:
Did I say that I was thinking all that was OK?
Once again, I think I was clear enough.


Maybe it's the language again, because I'm still not sure! I guess this last post of yours indicates that you're not, though, but it appeared to me that you were still defending any artists right to do anything with anyone else's work, regardless of the original intention and artistic vision.

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Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:51 am
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Gargamel, I assure you Hans isn't trying to be rude to you or trying to argue with malicious intent. I'd jump right in to your defense if he were, even if I disagree with you.

There was a big scandal involving this very topic not too long ago with a revival of Porgy and Bess. It even included Sondheim as a player in that scandal. ;)

Basically, this big-headed director came along and decided she'd use strategic rhetoric and manipulative use of genre and style in order to justify a bargain basement, Broadway-bound production of Porgy and Bess.

It was actually quite clever, very crafty, and very shameless. Porgy and Bess is an opera. It's also usually lavishly staged and casts opera singers in the roles. It's orchestration is just as lush as it sounds. But they couldn't have any of that since they were primarily interested in making a profit. Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, here's where it gets complicated.

Word around town was that a celebrated director who had gained respect and admiration for her work on a recent Broadway revival of "Hair" would lend some of her artistic magic to a brand new reimagining of Porgy and Bess as a musical, as opposed to an opera. Some people found that to be nothing short of bizarre as the score is very, well, operatic.

It wasn't until a piece detailing the changes that the director--Diane Paulus--had planned was published in the New York Times that all hell broke loose. Since then, it has been a mess of a discussion where everyone has conflicting ways of seeing what they feel are the true problems which sparked the controversy.

In short, Stephen Sondheim was outraged at Paulus' ego in claiming she'd make it "right." He was also put off by comments made by the writer hired to adapt the book, stating she did not have a clue because the characters and events in Porgy and Bess are larger than life and not meant to reflect real life as we know it. She had adapted what she considered to be "dramatic holes" in the work and made the situations "believable" and "fleshed-out" characters. He also criticized similar comments made by the show's star Audra McDonald. He closed his letter to the New York Times suggesting they cut "The Gershwins'" placed above the title in all ads and official show art and to instead be honest in their advertising by replacing that with "Diane Paulus' Porgy and Bess."

The vast majority of people gave the same tired arguments about how art belong to EVERYONE and how anyone who calls themselves an artist can take anyone's art and do with it as they please. Even journalists covering the controversy seemed to not get it, and wrote in newspapers across the country how a "reinterpreting" of an old classic was cause for controversy.

As Hans stated, the problem doesn't lie in what actors and musicians and designers and directors typically do, which is to interpret an established piece. The problem lies in directors taking an established work and not just interpreting it, not even reinterpreting it, but basically rewriting it. What Paulus had done was definitely considered a wholesale rewriting of the piece. The production also suspiciously featured a new orchestration that just happened to require a miniscule number of musicians as compared to the grand original. And like the book and characters, it wasn't merely adapted for a smaller orchestra, it was completely rewritten by none other than the same guy who had destroyed the orchestration for Les Miserables back in 2006 for the sorry so-called Broadway revival, Christopher Jahnke.

As you see, most of the concern doesn't lie in interpretation but lately directors have been overstepping their roles and have tacked on "creator of whole musicals" and most annoyingly "fixer-upper of badly staged musicals" when nothing was ever wrong with them and were, in fact, superior to anything they could ever dream of doing.

Sondheim is right about the motive lying in a savvy director's plans of self-promotion. It's a way of taking credit for something you didn't create but simply ruined. As long as people continue to undermine the importance of integrity and play down the impact of not knowing how a bad performance of a play does not at all translate to a badly written play, then audiences will continue to fall for crafty marketing schemes and consider the degradation of a winning work as "improvement" and those who denounce them as silly "purists" when the only silly people are those who find the killing off of Maria in WSS to be a brave artistic choice and not a self-indulgent act of undeserved, cued praise.

Considering how rampant it is these days, this notion that change for the sake of it is the same as literally reinventing something (itself a vague term and ruthless way of undermining the true creators) which amounts to adding distraction in place of anything warranting any artistic merit and simplifying and reducing layers from the score and book for financial gain, there is no end in sight to the sort of logic that exclaimed the 2011 Broadway revival of Porgy and Bess to be an ingenious work worthy in the face of the damned purists' wrath...because they saw it and Audra McDonald "killed it" as Bess!

How about...kill me now? Please?

:roll:

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Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:34 pm
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
I didn't know about all this controversy on Porgy and Bess. But I still agree with Gargamel, Diane Paulus still has the right to "recreate" Porgy and Bess even if it was horribly and stupidly done, as you said she did.
As long as she clearly say that it isn't the original work at all, I don't see the problem in her doing that, but that doesn't mean I would have like her version of the show.
If the WSS revival was only called "West Side Story", then I do think it's a lie and that the director is really pretentious, but if he had called it "another west side story" or something like that, he should have the right to do it.

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Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:39 am
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Mibuulle wrote:
As long as she clearly say that it isn't the original work at all, I don't see the problem in her doing that, but that doesn't mean I would have like her version of the show.
If the WSS revival was only called "West Side Story", then I do think it's a lie and that the director is really pretentious, but if he had called it "another west side story" or something like that, he should have the right to do it.


But that's what they never do! That's the point!

And it's irrelevant if the result is a ruin of the work or a gazillion times better. In the Porgy and Bess situation, they even changed the title to "The Gershwins' Progy and Bess", as if this were an even more authentic Gershwin work than what the Gershwins actually wrote! It of course only added to the insult that P&B is as much a DuBose Heyward work as a Gershwin work.

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Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:20 am
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Hans wrote:
But that's what they never do! That's the point!


No, directors do often change the name of the play, at least in France. For example, Peter Brook adapted die Zauberflöte, calling it "une flute enchantée" instead of "la flute enchantée". He rearranged completely the show and the orchestrations but as he changed the name, there was no problem about it.
If we were only arguing about whether director should change the title (and choose a good new one) if they are to change the text or not, then I think everybody agree. ;)
I thought the discussion was on whether the director has the right to change the text or not. Was I completely missing the point then?

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Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:42 am
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Mibuulle wrote:
I thought the discussion was on whether the director has the right to change the text or not. Was I completely missing the point then?


The point is that when someone is reworking for example a play, a director is not what he is anymore.

A director is someone who interprets someone else's text. Someone who rearranges a text, adds new stuff etc is making a new work. If they do, they should not use the author of the original texts as a guarantee for the quality of the new work and to shine glory on their own name as if the new work were a collaboration or an improvement on "flawed" original material. When they call themselves "directors" they disguise that fact that what we experience is actually something else than what the author intended.

I'm sure some directors play fair and are clear about which role they have had in the production of reworked texts. But of all theatre I have seen in Norway probably only one half was the text the author had actually written, the other half were plays/musicals the the director had "improved" in some or other way.

For example when I saw La Cage aux Folles in Oslo, I naturally understood that the Madonna, ABBA and general Eurovision Song Contest music that was added to the ensamble numbers were not a part of Herman's original music. During intermission when I read the playbill I realised that the spoken lines were an amalgam of lines from the original french play, the musical and the movie script for The Birdcage. It was only later when I bought the Broadway cast recording I discovered that two of what turned out to be my favourite songs from the show had been cut; Masculinity and Coctail Counterpoint.

This is not an interpretation of the Laurents/Herman text for their musical La Cage aux Folles, which is a director's task. Something completely different from directing has taken place.

(Now and then an extremely interresting "director" can do it as a stunt, but personally I think it's in general cheap and simplistic to rearrange someone else's work to claim that one has "created" something new, when one has only moved around parts of other's work. If one is dissatisfied with the Magic Flute that Mozart and Schikaneder wrote or the Cage aux Folles Herman and Laurents wrote, why not adapt the story by writing all new material oneself? Then one can get all the glory of actually having created something. That is only my subjective taste, so we don't have to agree, but I agree that is is not morally despicable when one points out that this is not directing, but rather experimenting and rearranging already existing text.)

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Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:09 pm
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
Back to OFC stuff:

COMPLETE!! footage of the OFC Waltz: http://comediesmusicales.tumblr.com/pos ... -seen-this

Hello Azelma...

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Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:51 pm
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Post Re: Details on the 1980 Paris production
"Video failed to load..."

This almost made my day, my week, my year.
Instead, it ruined it ! ](*,)


Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:12 am
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