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Alexandra

Gone with the Wind as a ballet

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This was too good to leave languishing in Links, so I've copied dirac's blurb from there:

Atlanta Ballet to stage full length production of "Gone With the Wind". As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up....: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/daily/det...0106507,00.html

Choreographed by John McFall with a cast of dozens. I'm not familiar with the current roster of the company so I can't cast it, but I thought we might be able to come up with some dramatic suggestions. They're not going to try to redo the movie. It doesn't sound as though McFall is going to do a distillation or abstraction, but The Real Thing.

Any reactions?

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Perhaps it would run over several nights, like Nicholas Nickleby or the Ring Cycle?

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I find it unlikely that Gone With the Wind will be done as a ballet.

After all, the lead character is a woman who goes to extraordinary lengths to appear unnaturally thin; wherever would anyone find a dancer like that?

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Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer

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email: salzberg@suncoast.quik.com

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Actually, Mammy had a terrible time trying to keep Scarlett from stuffing her face at the Wilkes' barbecue, as loyal readers (and viewers) will recall. Scarlett was also quite proud of what Gelsey Kirkland would call her "fulsome breasts"; it was her seventeen-inch waistline which she was determined not to see expand. (As you might deduce, in early adolescence I studied this book with a fervor that only be described as Talmudic.) smile.gif Can't wait to see girls trying to dance in those Walter Plunkett crinolines.

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Leigh, I'm seeing a trend here. Maybe you should do "Citizen Kane, the Ballet!" next year?

Back to "Gone with the Wind," the steal-the-show role is Prissy. First runners up, the Tarleton Twins (dirac, I, too, read that book until it was nearly memorized. Many great lessons of life in there, none of which will translate to the ballet stage smile.gif )

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I think this is a perfect idea, but crucial for surviving of this ballet will be the music. Why they didn't say anything about a composer?

Andrei.

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The article only said that they would NOT use the Max Steiner score -- meaning the movie soundtrack. (Having had the piano score and played it incessantly as a child -- lots of loud crashy chords -- like many movie scores, it's pretty much that one lovely melody over and over and over and over and over and.....

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Steiner was like that. He had a few themes, recycled incessantly. I once heard a story about Bette Davis during the filming of "Dark Victory". She was so rattled by Steiner's score that she stopped in the middle of one take and demanded, "Just who is going up these stairs to die? Me or Max Steiner?"

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Well, we HAVE to have the crinolines.....

We might also have to have the Maryinsky stage....or at Pinewoods Studio in London (indoor shots) and that studio in Calif. where they filmed Star Wars (Tara and outdoors....)....

And how are they going to translate the Rhett Line? *This* is going to tax the mine artists to the utmost!

Casting? You tell me how we are gonna do Mammy on pointe?

Oh my.....

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Gone with the Wind as a ballet I don't think that it really could work. It is a great story and I am big fan of the film but as a ballet it would be too complicated to portray to the audience. Also perhaps a minor detail how would you get the big dresses tat Vivien Leigh wears on a ballerina if she has to through her leg around and forget pas de deux. All being said I would be very interested in seeing this as a ballet- it would be very interesting!

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A number of years ago, there was a VERY short lived musical based on Gone With the Wind, which I didn't see. I just remember reading a review which said there were real live horses, and during the scene where Scarlett is singing I WILL GO TO TARA, the horse went.

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I'm I the only one picturing Miranda Weese as Scarlett?

[This message has been edited by Lillian (edited October 07, 2000).]

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Well, being from Atlanta, and knowing how Atlanta ballet is, I don't find it very hard to believe that they will do this. I must admit that I haven't heard about this, but it doesn't surprise me. Atlanta Ballet is always doing stuff like that. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of Atlanta Ballet, because they are not as good as you might expect a regional company like them to be. It's dissapointing. I will try to find out more info on this, as people from my studio have several links to the company and its students and apprentices. I will let you know what I find out! smile.gif

~Christa~

[This message has been edited by pdance (edited October 07, 2000).]

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Cargill, I remember reading in the NYTimes review of the short lived musical that an actor playing a dead soldier rolled over on to the the horses'....contribution, to avoid the curtain.

I used to picture Susan Jaffe as Scarlett but Lillian, you are correct, Miranda Weese is Scarlett

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Christa, thanks! If you learn anything, like what the music is, or if they're really going to try to tell the whole story (or whatever) please let us know.

Re casting, I'm going to put up another thread. It's time for a new game smile.gif

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I'm with pdance. I just don't see how Atlanta Ballet can pull this one off. They do well enough with the Michael Pink evening-length ballets ("Hunchback of Notre Dame," which I did see, and "Dracula," which I didn't). Pink refers to these ballets as "dance dramas," if that's helpful to anyone, and whatever their flaws, they suit Atlanta Ballet well -- set for a smallish stage and company, minimal virtuoso choreography (the "dance" part), strong reliance on mood in the lighting, costumes, and "acting" (the "drama" part), and they're relatively inexpensive to stage without selling production values too short. I haven't seen anything choreographed by McFall so I can't comment on his abilities at all.

I don't see how AB CAN'T be setting itself up for a fall with something like GWTW, where the expectations are bound to be impossibly high. On the other hand, AB's productions generally get very favorable local press (from the reviews, you would have thought Pink's "Dracula" was the next "Swan Lake") and the ballet gets a lot of corporate support.

Oh, well, I guess we shall see. I'm not buying my plane ticket for that 2003 premiere just yet.

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There is a "War and Peace" opera, so why not a "Gone With the Wind" ballet? I think that it's a splendid idea. MY kind of dance production - costumes! sets! spectacle! old-fashioned, non-offensive romance!

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Leigh!

It's not a problem at all to show Civil War, Slavery, Racial Stereotipes or even your Hello in ballet.

I think, if the choreographer will chose Tara as the main character of this particular performance, he/she is going to win. Don't you see even in the title "Gone with the wind" all white, black, purple with yellow dots will be swept away and just the Earth will be the same, still feeding and burying us.

Andrei.

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Andrei, you cut through all 1056 pages and got to the absolute essence of that book! (As Mr. O'Hara would put it, "Katy Scarlett, the land is the only thing that matters.")

[This message has been edited by alexandra (edited October 10, 2000).]

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I think Andrei, of course, has hit on the real problem. Ballet can convey complex ideas but not complex stories, which is why the idea of even an abridged GWTW as a ballet is so funny. As Leigh said, HELLO. But the essence of love for the land, I think really could work.

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Leigh is right. GWTW is a period piece in every sense. If you update it and cut out all the racial stereotyping, not to mention the glorification of the Ku Klux Klan, the decidedly outdated view of the Reconstruction era, etc., etc., then you won't have much of the book left and fans will be unhappy, because it won't be close enough in spirit to the original property. If you don't alter it -- radically -- they'll get picket lines and probably worse (deservedly so, I should note). Like it or not, the story doesn't make much sense without Mitchell's perspective intact. Recall that one of the crucial events in the story is an assault on Scarlett by Uppity Black Men -- the book uses other terms -- and the subsequent bloody retribution exacted by the gallant KKK. I remain fond of the book and the movie, but in later years you see things that I'm ashamed to admit were not immediately apparent to me at thirteen.

[This message has been edited by dirac (edited October 11, 2000).]

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Right-on, dirac! However, why can't we enjoy a 'gloss' on GWTW from a pure-entertainment perspective? Are we so jaded at the start of the 21st century that we cannot enjoy entertainment-for-entertainment's sake? Must we always look for deep meanings and form picket lines? How about protesting ABT's "Corsaire" as being anti-feminist or protest the Mariinsky for showing the little black sambos who dance with the Golden Idol in "Bayadere"? Why don't we protest the Kennedy Center next March, as ABT's "Giselle" shows cruelty-to-animals in the Hunt Scene. Gimme a break! Not every work of art has to possess a "deep intellectual meaning" to warm audiences hearts. I pity the jaded intellectuals who are unable to enjoy the performing arts without finding some liberal cause or "reality-blast" in the scenario. It's just as blessed to possess the heart of a child as it is to have the brain of a neurosurgeon. - J.

[This message has been edited by Jeannie (edited October 11, 2000).]

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