Carlo Gozziís 1792 fable Turandot was the inspiration for both Puccini and Busoni operas. Now, in a new adaptation, it has become Princess Turandot, a holiday event for adolescents of all ages, presented by the Blue Light Theater Company. With the help of sixteen performers, including actors, gymnasts, puppeteers, jugglers and two members of the Blue Man Group, this tale of a murderous princess who finally finds true love, has come to life as a fully staged animated cartoon.
With just enough off-color and timely humor to pique the interest of our teenage audience, Princess Turandot managed to tell its story of love and murder superficially, without capturing any of the emotions in this dark, fascinating fairytale. The actors mugged and rolled their eyes on every possible occasion. The elderly were dotty, the women were sluts, the King was tyrannical and the Prince couldnít seem to keep his shirt on. The beautiful Princess (Roxanne Hope), the cause of all this trouble, was having a perpetual hissy fit through most of the play.
To its credit, the costumes and staging were lovely. For me, the show was at its best when no one was speaking and the movement of the dancers, jugglers and puppeteers took center stage. But the kids at my performance seemed to enjoy the whole thing, and roared their approval when the Princess kissed the Prince in the last scene.
So, bring your youngsters on a cold winterís day when youíre looking for something fun to do, but remember to leave your memories of the Puccini opera at the door.
Photo by Carol Rosegg - Roxanna Hope as Princess Turandot and Andrew Weems as Truffaldino
Princess Turandot by Carlo Gozzi