Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ballet: Cinderella Goes to War

Now this is one I would love to see. But I don't live anywhere near this performance. If you are in the UK, however, you should look this one up if it interests you since it is potentially touring to several locations.  This is a new production of Cinderella from choreographer and director Matthew Bourne.

From Cinderella goes to war by Diane Parkes:

Set during the London Blitz, poor old Cinderella is as busy dodging the German Luftwaffe as she is dealing with the ugly sisters.

But Matthew hopes the essence of the children’s classic comes through his dance.

“I started with the basic story of Cinderella that people already know. I want them to follow the train of events of the fairy tale but also give it a certain complexity. It is fantasy and fairy tale.

“The essential elements are there. The missing shoe, the idea of being lost and then found. I worked in the step mother and the ugly sisters although I went for a larger family to ensure there were enough roles for my dancers.

“There is the element of a kind of prince and of a fairy godmother although mine is a guardian angel. All the elements which give this story its character are there but in a different way.”

In this story Cinderella’s prince is a handsome RAF pilot and, although the two become separated at midnight, the heroine does not disappear in a pumpkin – but in an explosion from a German bomb.

Matthew was very keen that the Second World War be more than just a backdrop to the story, it also generates much of the tale.

“I really love the Prokofiev music to Cinderella because it has such an edge to it and, when I was doing my research into the music, I realised that he wrote it during the Second World War. That made me wonder if that was what gave it its darkness.”

The more Matthew delved into the idea of setting the piece during that conflict, the more it seemed to fit.

“That was a period when there was a real urgency and a need to escape,” he says. “Ideas of time being limited and the risk of losing someone were very much war time themes.
Also, from the Birmingham Hippodrome site where the ballet is being performed.

New Adventures' new production of CINDERELLA is a thrilling and evocative journey through London during the Second World War. Matthew Bourne's interpretation of Prokofiev's haunting score has, at its heart, a true wartime romance. A chance meeting results in a magical night for Cinderella and her dashing young RAF pilot, together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz.

First seen in the West End in 1997, but now completely revised in this brand new production created to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Blitz. It features design by Lez Brotherston who won an Olivier award for his original designs, and new lighting designs by Neil Austin. The production will also feature sensational sound design by Paul Groothius which will take the audience into the heart of Prokofiev's magnificent score and the sound world of war-torn London.

CINDERELLA is both a tribute and a testament to the spirit of London during a time when every second counted and lives were changed forever. Bourne's vivid storytelling has never been more heart-stopping and touching, creating a unique and unforgettable depiction of a familiar and beloved fable.

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