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Giselle from Hell


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#31 Manhattnik

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 11:25 PM

Let's hit closer to home, shall we?

Giselle is an up-and-coming pupil at the La Sublimova School of Ballet. Alas, she has a weak heart, perhaps compounded by an eating disorder.

Hilarion is an older cohort of Giselle's, one of those guys who seems to have a career mostly because he's a guy and can partner.

Berthe is torn between wanting Giselle to win many competitions, and wanting her not to die from dancing.

Albrecht is the son of the artistic director of one of the big local ballet companies, who's decided to go slumming by taking classes at La Sublimova's somewhat rundown academy in a seedy part of town (probably because he's already cut a swath through the local talent at Daddy's company and school). So Daddy is the Duke of Courland, and Bathilde is the Big Ballet Company's reigning diva, for whom Daddy has brought up Junior to be the pefect partner.

I'll leave the details to the reader's imagination (such as Act II taking place in "a room with a mirror"), except to say that the Wilis would be the spirits of all those hardworking corps gals who never got promoted because they refused to put out, or, worse, because they didn't refuse. I picture a corps of Wilis dressed as Big Swans, Marzipan Shephardesses, Coppelia's friends, the girl in Blue from Dances at a Gathering, various and sundry versions of the Balanchine-black-leotard-and-white-tights uniform, the Three Fates from La Valse, those also-ran muses from Apollo, that poor, uncredited gal who fills in at the finale of Western Symphony for the lead in the long-discarded Scherzo, and, of course, Moyna and Zulma. Myrtha would be dressed as Gamzatti, or, perhaps, Mercedes.

[ February 26, 2002, 11:36 PM: Message edited by: Manhattnik ]

#32 Manhattnik

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Posted 10 March 2002 - 11:02 AM

Hmmm. Whatever could have served as your inspiration for this brilliant recension of Giselle?

It could only be improved, in my estimation, by building on the idea (was it Berman's costumes) of having the Wilis appear in different national dresses. So when it comes time to dance Albrecht or Hilarion to death, out will step, say, the Spanish wili, the familiar opening notes of the Don Q pas will well up from the orchestra pit, and, well, you get the idea.

So....

American wili : Stars and Stripes pdd
Russian wili: Tchai Pas
Another Russian wili: Black Swan
Yet Another Russian wili : Spring Waters
French wili: Esmerelda
Another American Wili : excerpts from Rubies (Rubies as the entire second act?)
Danish wili : Flower Festival
Swiss wili : William Tell pdd
Hungarian Wili : something or other from Raymonda
English wili : cockerel's dance from Fille (oops, how did that get in there?)

To finish Albrecth off, they'll toss him into a gold jacket and pretend to be fireflies as they force him to dance Balanchine's scherzo from Midsummer.

#33 Manhattnik

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Posted 10 March 2002 - 11:45 PM

Alexandra, I thought perhaps you'd gotten the idea from seeing a certain American ballet company performing its version of a 19th Century classic transformed into an occasion for male bravura. Regardless, I think you could sell your Giselle to Kevin McKenzie in a heartbeat.

Nanatchka, how could we have forgotten jesters? I see Albrecht and Hilarion as dance critics, faced in the second act with AN ENTIRE corps of vengeful, dead, malevolent Jesters, representing the spirits of all the poor souls who spent their careers perfecting the art of performing a double revoltade while shaking a stick with bells on it, only to expire from the slings and arrows of intolerant Western critics.

Leigh, I can see it now: The Times Square Giselle, with Dustin Hoffman as Hilarion and Jon Voight as Albrecht. Can't quite place the Giselle yet, but I see the Wilis as a fetching ensemble of departed streetwalkers.

And, did someone mention Bouvier?

Giselle -- Marilyn Monroe
Albrecht -- JFK
Hilarion -- RFK
Bathilde -- Jackie

Although the story would need to be modified to indicate that Giselle has done a lot more than play "Pluck my daisy" with Albrecht (and Hilarion, and half the villagers, for that matter) I think it has legs.

#34 Juliet

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 09:06 PM

No, they were more reminiscent of shrouds.....very effective, if very different.

Berman was such a theatrical Theatrical designer....but I recall that many people did not care for their Wilis looking like real dead girls.

At least he didn't put holographic sequins on every available costume, unlike Some Companies we know.....

#35 Juliet

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Posted 11 March 2002 - 03:09 PM

but what are they WEARING??????
I get agitated just thinking about it.....

#36 Juliet

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Posted 24 March 2002 - 05:03 PM

Dairy Queen......Dairy Fairies with milk moustaches.

This is priceless.

My next project, I hope......

(This is my favourite thread since the sublime ones on computer viruses and Sleeping Beauty fairies....):D

#37 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 04:58 PM

This is about 50 years outdated, but we really ought to do the Amateur Freudian Giselle, where we find out that Myrtha is actually Albrecht's mother. Berthe gets her own huge variation (with lots of crossing motions) and the Duke of Courland even gets in the act with an implied incestuous relationship with Bathilde. He also casts lustful eyes at Giselle, of course, for another gratuitous sex triangle and to give Myrtha and Albrecht a motivation. It ain't a story without a Freudian motivation, doncha know. . .

We still use the Adam score, but resampled with bits of musique concrete and rap for relevance.

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#38 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 10 March 2002 - 09:47 PM

How about this version by Le Grand Ballet de Psychology Today?

Enter ALBRECHT accompanied by Doppelganger.

In fact, we have an alter ego for every single member of the production. It was turning out to be quite expensive in labor, so some of them are simply stuffed or inflatable. We found them while they were cleaning up Times Square. It saves on expenses, but they've all got 'em out there, by jingo. You should see the wilis scene, there are at least 128 wilis on stage, corporeal, alter egos, stuffed dolls, inflatable blow-up wilis and otherwise. And if you can't fathom the significance, then you're a philistine.

#39 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 11:17 AM

well you could give albrecht a jester that follows him around.....

#40 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 11:24 AM

or you could have albrecht change his mind and propose to myrtha, and see if that made her relent on making him dance to death...

#41 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 06:53 AM

mussel, that's brilliant!

#42 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 02:48 PM

plot suggestion from a friend:
***
In this version Hilarion should have a fight with
Albrecht and have Albrecht fall into a pile of dog doodoo, which is no longer being cleaned off the streets of NY because the mayor has made cutbacks in the sanitation services. Albrecht is on his way to an important board meeting.
Because he has to arrive covered in muck, his next big deal, in which he has invested all his Enron earnings (he got out in time), falls through, and he winds up on the dole - and being given the run-around by the DSS - which is
staffed by Wilis.

#43 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 03 March 2002 - 07:15 PM

a little like selma and patty bouvier?

#44 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 11 March 2002 - 02:22 PM

I know! Myrtha is Giselle's aunt, who was done in by Albrecht's father!

#45 felursus

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Posted 27 February 2001 - 01:48 AM

I remember "Giselle's Revenge" very well. For those of you who never saw it, it ends with Albrecht having been lured into the coffin and Giselle sitting on the lid. Quite Freudian.

I also rather like the idea of Myrtha as Albrecht's mother. Albrecht's father was a philanderer too - leading to Myrtha's death. She's out for revenge - like father like son: If she can kill off Albrecht she messes up the princely succession. Perhaps there's a daughter in the wings who can take over (if there's no Salic law in effect in the kingdom). Viva equal rights for women!

Speaking of production "oddities" I remember the staging Stuttgart had when they first came to the Met. The Wilis were all lying on the floor (on one of the elevators of the Met stage). Through lots of dry ice they ascended to stage level. They were covered in shrouds - one for each half of the stage - that were pulled off into the wings. This produced a lot of giggles in the audience.


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