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Ed Waffle

Winter Games material for the stage

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The Olympics now being contested in Salt Lake City cry out for treatment on stage. The events so far could serve as material for a number of libretti for opera or ballet.

One approach could be to use the bribery scandals of a few years ago as a prelude. Members of the International Olympic Committee were given college tuition for children, taken on shopping sprees for which bills never arrived and allowed access to huge amounts of plunder not generally available others, all in order to secure their votes for Salt Lake City as the site.

The scandal of the judging would be shown as a necessary result of this corruption, with the corrupt officials from both the IOC and the organizing committee appearing later in disguise as skating judges. Lots of dramatic roles.

Or, one could focus on Marie-Reine Le Gougne, the French judge. It would have a great role for a ballerina who can dance and act with an extended mad scene. There will also be plenty of room for Ben Stevenson type effects, with Gougne’s demons hurtling around the stage (flying by Foy) accompanied by stobe lights, smoke bombs and fireworks.

It would be both ridiculous and sublime, so its structure would mirror, comment upon and even clarify these Winter Games. It would be a self-deconstructing ballet.

Both approaches, of course, would have an act devoted to the two pairs of skaters/dancers performing. It would be a choreographic tour de force to have the Canadian pair dance a difficult looking pas de deux but still make it mistake proof for any pair of dancers, since a slip would spoil the verisimilitude necessary in an edifying work.

In an opera, there might be a crowd scene with several of the principals singing and a Russian official either meeting or just failing to meet Gougne downstage—it could be left ambiguous, impossible to say if they actually did meet in the tumult of (for example) the melee after the opening ceremonies. Not sure how this would be handled in ballet.

Character roles abound. ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta, with his horrible toupee is one. President Bush would be another. A chorus of Canadian reporters would be necessary.

This is just a bare outline, but there just has to be a decent libretto here.

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I fear recent events (in skating, anyway) would be better suited to a "WWF Smackdown" version than ballet. I would prefer to see delightful Simon Ammann ("Ya! Gold medal! ya!") or the redoubtable Bode Miller translated to the stage, although I'm not quite sure how.

[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: dirac ]

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This is hilarious Ed smile.gif . But I must agree that this week's events are not worthy of a ballet or opera, too low class. Maybe we should just decide all Olympic finals with Rollerjam. I'd bet good money that Anton could take out both Jaime and David smile.gif

p.s. i'm not being a good Canadian am i tongue.gif

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I think Ed's got something there. It's a rare opportunity -- a contemporary story where men can wear tights.

One would have to have a hero and a villain, though. It would be ideal to have both pairs of skaters the victims of Evildoers, like a Greek tragedy, but in our post-Titanic age (when we seem to only be able to understand tragedy by watching a cute couple) I think we'd have to have a winner and a loser.

I'm waiting to see what Saturday Night Live will do with this one. I won't be home in time to see it (and my VCR is unreliable) so I hope someone will watch and post.

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Perhaps a big time wrestling opera? Yes, Saturday night live has some serious grist for their mill. The emotional tide will run high...is there a full moon out tonight? wink.gif

Maybe Dick Cheney will even come out of his undisclosed location for it.

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Les Patineurs......

Kudelka for the Canadians, Petit for the French (I am leaving out Maguy Marin, as the characters would be interesting but unrecognizable), and Eifman for the Russians.......

Hmm. On mature reflection, I think we need another area for exploration.......

Maybe gymnastics---Eliot Feld can have Damian Woetzel navigating across the top of the State Theatre to the tune of more thousands of dollars on that shiny jungle gym in his Mowgli costume.....

[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: Juliet ]

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