Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lulu in New York, Louise Brooks in New York Times

Today, the New York Times ran a piece on a new stage production of Lulu, which is playing at BAM as part of the Next Wave Festival. (An earlier, and equally informative article about this new production, "The Nymphet Is a Lethal Weapon," appeared in the 11-25-07 New York Times. The article can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/theater/25kalb.html).

Today's article by Caryn James, "A Woman of Thoughtless Erotic Force Has Her Day, and Many Men," reads in part:
Wedekind wrote “Pandora’s Box” and “The Earth Spirit,” which together became “Lulu,” soon after “Spring Awakening,” the 1891 play that is the basis for the current (when the stagehands aren’t on strike) Broadway musical. Although his sexual frankness shattered the mores of his society, we can see now that his plays were not so much ahead of their time as timeless. Just as the musical “Spring Awakening” speaks to the eternal theme of adolescent sexual discovery, this “Lulu” distills the story of a woman and the many men with whom she has lethal affairs to its primal elements: desire, willfulness, blind obsession.

That approach shatters the Lulu stereotype. From Louise Brooks in the 1929 silent film “Pandora’s Box,” staring out from the screen with her dark-rimmed eyes and trademark black bob, to her descendant, Lola Lola, the Marlene Dietrich character in “The Blue Angel,” the typical Germanic femme fatale has swept through men’s lives with the destructive force of a tornado. Mr. Thalheimer offers a nonjudgmental “Lulu,” with a heroine who is more careless than seductive, and men and women who are neither good nor bad, strong nor weak. Until it is undermined by a melodramatic ending, his version has an elemental sexuality that transcends the taboos of any moment.
According to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) website, this performance is sold out for the duration of its short run. I know I have asked this question before, but might there be a Wedekind revival in the works?

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