Thoughts on the RWB’s The Handmaid’s Tale

21 Oct

Based on a Novel by Margaret Atwood

That’s what it says on my ticket

When I got there, my brain immediately went, “Maybe a ballet based on a science-fiction speculative fiction novel with a theme of oppression – specifically women’s reproductive rights wasn’t the best birthday present for mom.” But she loved it. She wasn’t familiar with the source material, but she got the idea. (And before anyone yells at me about being selfish– I’d forgotten they were doing this – I walked into buy the tickets in last month looking for tickets to the next show for her birthday, and the other show was contemporary dance).

Yeah. I haven’t read the novel in a few years but I’ve studied it enough that I didn’t need a refresher. I was just lucky I got off work in time to make the drive so I didn’t have to give up my spot to someone else. (I bought tickets for the Sunday Matinee, but it was mom’s birthday and she wanted Saturday night, so it was tight but whatever).

I’d say I know next to nothing about dance, but I then thought about all the things I know very little (such as string theory) so I’ll throw out that I’m not one to talk about choreography or whatever – but I thought the dancing was beautiful – the music was spot on and I loved the costumes/staging. The story was for the most part very faithful – it got the main ideas across, however, I think it went for more universal themes than specifics; at no time did I get the idea that religion was being used as propaganda, nor did I get the idea that someone was being called ‘unwoman’ at any time in the play – in fact, even though the themes were updated, there was still a classic look of the Nazis (both as the commander and his men, the wives had that 40’s look, as well as the Jezebels had remarkably flapperesque dresses), references to 1984 were made in the synopsis guide, and in a way, I think that’s necessary. Way back whenever I took my stylistics course, one of my fellow students did her final project on adaptation from novel to musical and while I think that there is something to be said for in that novels can, by their nature, be more subjective to interpretation than other forms of medium, at the time I just thought it was about people putting their spin on a story, now I think it’s more about embracing the interpretive medium’s strengths. Not always, of course, but even though I’d say that the ballet adaptation of the story did a very good job and, it would probably be less polarizing to say the least.

So normally I’d tell you to go and see it, but the last show was yesterday and I’m not sure if it’ll be done again. The theatre was packed on Saturday, but I have no idea how often they rotate through shows or if it’ll be done again by any other theatre company.

I didn’t take any pictures, but you can looksie here


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