Sunday, January 15, 2012
Sleeping Beauty: a tragedy
This post is waaaaaay late. I went to see Ballet West's production of The Sleeping Beauty almost a year ago. It was my first, and probably last, experience at the ballet. But that's not today's story. Today's story is about how the princess got a raw deal.
This trip to see the ballet was an activity with my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law. We went early enough to catch the explanation from the artistic director and the choreographer before general seating began. Thank heaven we did. I would have been completely lost during the final act of the ballet had we not been there. It also gave me something to smirk at while we watched the final act.
The ballet was set in France. We were told that the costuming for the first act was taken from styles of the late 1600s. The costuming, by the way, was fantastic. Fabrics and construction are something I understand. Dancing, well...not so much. But the costumes really were lovely.
Anyway, the princess Aurora is born, is cursed by the bad fairy, saved by a good fairy, pricks her finger 16 years later, and falls asleep for 100 years. The rest of the castle also falls asleep. Being in an enchanted sleep for 100 years can't be great, but the worst is yet to come.
A century later, the prince (obviously very much the junior of Aurora) finds his way into the castle and immediately falls in love with the sleeping princess. He kisses her, the entire castle wakes up, and everyone seems to think that's good reason for the prince and Aurora to get married. I suppose worse decisions have been made when choosing a spouse.
The third act shows the royal family and the wedding guests in their new, modern clothing. The styles were very fashionable for their time. The costumes were perfect for the late 1700s. Wait...the late 1700s...in France. That wasn't necessarily the best time and place to be royalty or aristocracy. I kept waiting for the revolutionaries to storm the castle and take the royal family to a "popular" gathering place for the nobility of the time: La Guillotine. Sorry Aurora; sucks to be you. Although it would have made for a much more interesting third act.