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The Jester!

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As long as he's got something to do, he's fine. It's when the part is obviously an overlay that he bothers me. If he interacts with other characters on the stage, it usually works pretty well. One of the most successful jester uses I ever saw was as a facilitator/foil for the Tutor. The Jester would slip the old boy bottles of hooch from the Peasants and get him drunk. After that, he would serve as the Tutor's Fool, sort of like Lear's, but much lower-key. They walked off of Act I with the Tutor grandiloquently gesturing, obviously explaining the Secrets of the Universe, and the Jester nodding as if he understands, and dropping a shrug as they leave.

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I remember reading a review of a Swan Lake where, in the first act, I think, viewers were regaled with the sight of swans that had been shot by the hunters and skewered on spits. Then the reviewer continued (and I paraphrase), "Would that it had been the Jester on a spit instead." (Or maybe they were just stretched out on poles. I can't remember exactly.)

I think as the Jester can, in theory, be useful for making clear Siegfried's situation and dilemma, but there's also Benno for that, isn't there? In any case, there's a differene between theory and practice, and I've never seen a Jester I didn't want to squish with a flyswatter. All that flash and commotion and for what? To show there's a short guy in the company who can jump and turn?

One day someone will make a production where the Black Swan becomes a pas de quatre for Odile, Siegfried, Von R and the Jester, and I'll just have to go someplace quiet and slit my wrists. (Imagine the Jester doing the 32 fouettes....)

[ 07-01-2001: Message edited by: Manhattnik ]

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I know part of what one likes has a lot to do with what one has grown up with, so I don't mean to be offensive to Jester Fans when I write that I think he was originally put in for the Groundlings -- something a little zippy for those who found the first act boring.

I think he changes the focus of the first act considerably and, of course, vote for Benno (in his original, noble, non pas de trois dancing form.)

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I think it depends on how overboard (or not)the Jester is. I like him when well danced. Sometimes it is the individual dancer who makes or breaks the role (as always)- but perhaps a little more so here. There has to be ONE that Manhattnik would refrain from hitting with his proverbial flyswatter. I do like the idea of him being a foil for the Tutor though. Anyway, I think there WOULD have been a court jester in Siegfried's mom's court. By the way, and I know Mme. Hermine knows who I mean, I do know a jester who could reliably do the 32 fouettes!


[ 07-02-2001: Message edited by: felursus ]

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I agree with felursus--it depends on how well the role is executed.

I know a lot of other roles which are more deserving of the flyswatter than the poor jester...those silly cygnets, for example: that's where I grit my teeth and Sit Patiently.......

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