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Into the Woods is an eclectic mishmash of everyone's favorite childhood fairy tales. These fairy tales do not stem from their ever-popular Disney versions, but from their original versions from Grimms' Fairy Tales. The Grimms' fairy tales were the first publications of many of the stories involving the characters Sondheim and Lapine incorporated into their musical, such as Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Little Red Ridinghood, Jack and the Bean Stalk, and many more.
What is unique about all of Grimms' fairy tales is that each one, although very different from the rest, is told in the style of third person omniscient, a style of writing in which the story is told by an all-knowing, objective observer who is not a part of the story. Lapine and Sondheim used this aspect of the Grimms' fairy tales and transposed it into their musical through the use of the character entitled, "Narrator", and added in a twist to make this character all their own.
The general themes outlined in Into the Woods (childhood, trusting others, family, parenting, turmoil, and hope) are the same as those explored in Grimms' Fairy Tales. Grimms' versions of the fairy tales, some slightly different than their Disney interpretations, have been cleverly interwoven with each other to create the intricate plot that carries this show, while still holding on to the timeless morals and values explored by generations of children.
Theatre and Performance Studies
La Salle University, "Into the Woods" (2008). The Masque Programs. 117.
Into the Season
The 2008-2009 season for The Masque of La Salle carries with it the theme of contrast. Starting with Into the Woods-Stephen Sondheim 's masterwork of two opposing acts-The Masque will be bringing in many new aspects while cultivating the rich traditions our 79th year brings with it. Each show staged this year will involve a delicate blend of the comedic with the sad, tragic, or macabre in an effort to deliver an artistic rendering of real life.
For Into the Woods, we sought to expand our collection of trusted directors. We have accomplished that goal in our discovering Philadelphia director Carol Laratonda. Indeed, Carol has been one of the greatest blessings for The Masque this year, bringing the professionalism indicative of her work at major area theatres along with a balancing clever humor. On the traditional side, we've brought back Michael Borton, our music director going on three years now, for perhaps the toughest show he has taken on with The Masque to date. Both Carol and Michael have joined to become a team the likes of the Brothers Grimm ... unforgettable.
We wish! We wished for a season of excitement, and the first months have certainly yielded that. Firstly, this will be the inaugural presentation of Into the Woods at La Salle University-and I am proud to say it is part of a season of shows which have never graced the Dan Rodden Theater's stage before. For our next news, I must begin by offering sincere thanks to the Big Guy Foundation and La Salle's Division of Student Affairs for providing funding for the Theater's new lighting board. With the capabilities now at our designer's fingertips, Into the Woods will bring with it La Salle's first use of intelligent lighting design. If you want to see it in action, make sure you keep an eye to the sky!
All of these exciting elements, coupled with a supremely talented cast and crew, promise to bring Into the Woods directly into your lives. Fairy tales will leap from their pages and morality will receive the realistic treatment it deserves ... with plenty of laughs along the way. Thank you for joining The Masque of La Salle, now begin the journey into the woods, and we'll see you happily ever after ... the show!
Producer and President
One of my most cherished memories from childhood is my mother reading to me before bedtime. I used to make her read the same stories over and over again, because although I knew how the story would end, I still wanted to join the characters in their journey. Years later, hearing these stories is a reminder of a simpler time, when the belief in giants could still exist, and when adventure seemed to be waiting around every corner. I am also reminded of my mother and the special bond that can only be shared between parents and children. When asked to direct this piece, I smiled at the chance to tap back into my five-year-old imagination and play in a world where red capes serve as good security and birds and people can communicate as equals.
Based largely off of the Brothers Grimm fairytales, Into the Woods is a story about growing up, not only from childhood into adulthood, but from the many stages of uncertainty in life to the moments when we begin to accept the path that lies ahead. Staying within the realm of all good f airytales, its characters wear both their hearts and their tragic flaws on their sleeves; all the while remaining charming enough to make us want to follow them down even the most treacherous path and learn each lesson with them. It teaches the importance of accepting responsibility, the pains and joys of morality, and how to weigh the need for wish fulfillment with its consequences. It's light-hearted first act serves only as a precursor to its darker second, where the magical giants in the sky have come down to earth, and where death cannot be reversed by pulling Granny out of the Wolf's stomach. In short, it tells us that the innocence of childhood cannot last forever, and that the best we can do is attempt to pass the lessons we have learned on to our children, knowing that they will need to take their own path through the woods towards a wish fulfilled.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with the students here at La Salle. Their dedication, energy, and spirit have reminded me how important it is to play, to explore and to learn new things. Thank you so much for joining us on our journey. Enjoy the show!