Saturday, October 17, 2009

An All Male Swan Lake for Christmas in the U.K.

Bookmark and Share

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake is holiday entertainment in London.

Gotta love those Brits, Making Swan Lake a ballet about male swans and offering it as a Christmas present. The Sadler's Wells does just that, and you have to see the preview to believe it. (Plenty more on You Tube!)

This particular preview has an interesting story, too. It is being shown movie trailer style with other clips at London's Peacock Theatre before each evening's live dance performance. That in itself is an innovative way to market the arts, and this clip is being shown along with other coming "live" performances, like Jump and Snowman.

This swan makes a grande Jeté.

Mixing live performances with film promotions may seem radical to some conservative Berkshire promoters, but both the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and the Colonial Theatre should be thinking long and hard about whether people would rather view something exciting like the clip above or if a a rote recitation of coming attractions is just as effective. It's not. I make this suggestion despite my great affection for both Beryl Jolly and David Fleming, the hard working executive directors of the Berkshires two big performance houses. Jacobs Pillow could do the same - they already have video clips as part of their website - and even our resident theatre companies who are making informal videos for their own blogs.

A very different Swan Lake.

Needless to say Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake continues to provoke - as it did on Broadway a couple of years ago - but it will of course sell out, because you don't have to be gay to enjoy something completely new and different. And it brings in a very young audience of the curious, who are not nearly as afraid of the fine arts as we old timers think they are. They just prefer them without all that starch and ritual.

Jason Piper in Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake
(Bill Cooper Photo)

Jason Piper says: “I always get the Billy Elliot thing thrown at me, but we couldn’t be more different…I am brown, I’m from the Midlands, my parents are loving and supportive and my dad wasn’t a miner. I can’t quite see the similarity, except that we are both male and we dance. That’s it. Well, except that there is the Bourne Swan Lake…we both did that!! But if it has helped to encourage other boys to dance, then it’s great. If they see Billy Elliot in me, that’s fine, as long as they get out there and dance.”

Jason Piper in rehearsals for Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray
(Mikah Smilie Photo)

No comments: