re: I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Pippin revival's sound
Posted by: peter3053 02:57 pm EST 01/21/21
In reply to: re: I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Pippin revival's sound - Chromolume 03:15 am EST 01/21/21

I suspect the inconsistencies stem from the disjunction between Schwartz' original intentions and Fosse's alteration of the material. I suspect the original intention was not nihilistic. (The revival is less nihilistic in its finale.)

Also, Pippin is best understood in the context of 1960s absurdist theatre - iconoclasm of conventions; reversals of the regular; playing with the ordinary logic of plays. "Absurd" essentially meant "Out of harmony" meaning "out of harmony with reason."

Also, it fits in with a certain view that rhetoric and decoration of presentation - be it verbal or visual, and in this case theatrical - is the antithesis of sincerity and authenticity. Hence Pippin sings unaccompanied by lights and music at the end - he has found happiness in authenticity, according to this aesthetic view.

(The alignment of display with inauthenticity and of plainness with truth is not a long-held historical view. After all, Martin Luther King's great speeches relied for their power entirely on rhetorical skill in the service of truth.)

But it's a valid theatrical device to make the point of the show. Pippin did seek the truth and what could be valued in perpetuity, and in the revival is satisfied and relieved (not "trapped" as Fosse had him say) when he finds it.

The Lead Player is of course, the devil, and his temptations of Pippin are always with the things Pippin finds most attractive. This also fits in with a theatrical tradition - indeed the Christian tradition - articulated by Shakespeare; "The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape..." This was one of Shakespeare's common themes - as was his tradition that "all the world's a stage / and all the men and women merely players."

Hence, the 'play within the play' in Pippin is of course, not really a play - the stage is the world, the 'players" are the spirits of "the world, the flesh and the devil", and the audience are the "gods of the theater", outside looking in.

The show walks the tightrope of much literature - the "magic to do" is both appealing and a lie all at once. Who was it who said, "The devil gets all the best lines"?

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