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re: The age of characters in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC.
Last Edit: AlanScott 10:20 pm EST 02/11/19
Posted by: AlanScott 10:18 pm EST 02/11/19
In reply to: The age of characters in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. - portenopete 04:00 pm EST 02/06/19

This is one of those many times when I wish we had posts here going back years. In years past, though it's now been a while, we discussed the questions of the characters' ages at length. I've saved a lot of my posts from this board, but I don't seem to have saved any on this subject (or if I did, I'm not finding them).

On the "other board," I posted about some of this, and those threads are still there. I'm linking one of the pages with a post of mine, and on that page i posted a link to another thread in which I had posted on the subject. I post there as nobodyhome. I rarely post there nowadays — although I posted there a few weeks ago after a longish absence, and then a reply in that thread just a couple of hours ago — but I've gone through periods of posting there with some frequency. The linked page, on which my post is at the top, is the second page of a two-page thread, so my post appears with no context on that particular page.

I really wish I had some of those older posts from this board or from sondheim.com because I know posted in some detail about the ages of the various character in both the Bergman film and the musical, and the ages of the actors in both, and how some of the characters' ages clearly changed from the film to the musical. I discuss some of that on the linked page (and the page linked on that page), but not matters like the difference in Charlotte's age from Bergman to the musical, or about Madame Armfeldt. I’d do it again, but I just don’t have patience or time at the moment.

I will add, though some of his has already been posted here by others, that we have no idea how old Madame Armfeldt was when Desiree was born or if she has other children. As a result, depending on the age of the Desiree, it's easy to see Madame A as being any age between around 60 and early 90s. It's possible that Desiree was an accident. It's even possible that Desiree was born before Madame A became a courtesan, and quite possible that Desiree was born of a sort of planned or hoped-for pregnancy after Madame A had retired after having amassed her fortune and feeling more than capable of raising a child in a comfortable, even lavish, life. I think Desiree is clearly illegitimate. We have no reason to believe that Madame A ever married, and it seems most unlikely (even if courtesans did sometimes eventually marry).

A too-young Madame A seems a bad idea. I think you want an actress who can play at least 70, even though life expectancy in Sweden of the early 20th century Sweden was shorter than now.
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