Friday, April 11, 2014

Fairy Tale News Hound Digs Up More Than She Can Chew, er, Post (aka Article Roundup From Between the Coffee Stains in a Reporter's Notebook)

It's no secret that I barely get to a quarter of the fairy tale news stories I dig up and there are always a good handful I regret not sharing so I'm going to try something and we'll see how it goes.
I'm going to list a group of stories I haven't had time to post on that I think are worth checking out, giving you links to the various key articles and web pages so you can both be aware of these things happening and research them yourself if they catch your interest. 

This won't be uber-regular as it could turn into a column all by itself (!) but from time to time, hopefully I can pass on a plateful of fairy tale goodies that you can follow up on at your leisure.

My big challenge, considering I'm already interested in them, is to keep my summaries brief and concise so this post doesn't turn into an encyclopedic-sized essay.... 

(Note: Most of these are from last week and any events mentioned are still running/exhibiting.)

Beren and Luthien by Helena Panassol 
From a blog that, studies and critiques Tolkien's work comes a parallel with Rapunzel:
"...the Silmarillion presents a reconstruction of the story of Rapunzel, in which Luthien, trapped in a “wooden house” at the top of “the greatest of all the trees,” causes “her hair to grow to a great length,” and “of the strands… twine[s] a rope” and “climb[s] from her prison” (Silmarillion 203). "
I wish it expanded on it a little more but there's enough there for you to start your won research if you're intrigued. 

A fun post with some silly thoughts that also points out the two-sided nature of the banner and that the dual (and dueling) sides of Maleficent that are likely to be explored in the movie. This does appear to be the driving force of the movie but the article also kind of want to make a whole list of more silly predictions for fun now too. :) The article also touches briefly on the discomfort being felt by money-makers on Wall Street at the darkness of the film (which is the key talking point about the movie this week).
"... if you didn’t already predict a rosy reception to Sleeping Beauty: Dark Side Edition, you can start placing your bets...""... the structure of the poster symbolizes Malificent’s inner struggle: one side is dark and thorny, and the other is lush and community-oriented..."

Try not to get TOO excited just yet... except it's hard not to perk your ears up when the composer is already so enthusiastic.
"..."Wicked" composer Stephen Schwartz... revealed that the "Wizard of Oz" origin story has already "started gearing up" for the big screen. Although, he admitted that there are still no concrete plans for the Wicked movie adaptation. However, after years of false starts, it seems that this year could possible the year for "Wicked" in the big screen.
"... his creative team are already thinking about what to consider in order to do so.
"What are we going to change?" Schwartz said. "What are we going to keep? How do you use a whole new language and medium to tell the story? [We can] really look at it again and say, 'Oh, we can do this, and we've always wanted to do that and we couldn't onstage, but we can in a movie.' We're actually having a blast."

Third year natural science undergrads ask these questions (and more in the same vein) seriously and come up with some interesting answers.
"Pinocchio could only sustain 13 lies in a row before the maximum upward force his neck could exert cannot sustain his head and nose. The head’s overall centre of mass shifts over 85 metres after 13 lies, and the overall length of the nose is 208 metres."Lengthy, extensive lies are advised against, for the health and well-being of Pinocchio." 
"...It is theoretically possible to gain enough energy for the transformation of a frog to a prince from the kinetic energy of air alone."However, extraction of such amount of energy is practically impossible for present science, as it would require extracting all kinetic energy from the air molecule."This would result in an environment of absolute zero temperature. While solar heating would slowly provide the air with energy again, the health of the prince/frog and any other person (princess) in the area cannot be assured.
(A separate article HERE on Rapunzel's hair - what type of hair it would have to be, how strong, anchor points etc)

A brief but good introductory review of this fairy tale anthology that lives on the dark side of the border.
Red Caps might be a rock band. Or they might be something more sinister, a fey source of sounds that are but the backdrop to thrills and misadventures. These thirteen stories provide readers jaded by the traditional, Old World fairy tales with tempting new stories that will entice bored readers from their suburban ennui. Closets are waiting to be explored. Escape from work camp leads to a dangerous encounter on a wet road. That high school year book is magical and might be mocking you…or helping you find love. And isn’t love one of the central premises of the fairy tale? 
These teenage boys and girls need not fear that their love has no worth, because Steve Berman has written for them princesses who love maidens and adorkable students who have wondrous and smart boyfriends. Readers can be assured that, if the tale does not end happily, it ends most memorably.

Both are inspired by Andersen's mermaid but they take their own journeys.
Cate from Something to Read for the Train also had a recent review worth reading (HERE) on the first book as well.
"Not every little mermaid has to follow in the wake of Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tale. Two new mermaids with tales all their own swim to the surface in “The Mermaid and the Shoe,” written and illustrated by K.G. Campbell, and “The Mermaid’s Shoes,” written and illustrated by Sanne te Loo. These modern mermaids make for a refreshing and amusing departure from their famous predecessor."

Sergeant Wu, a character not (currently) "clued in" to the world of the Other on NBC's Grimm has to deal with seeing an Aswang - a fascinating Filipino folklore addition to the world folklore rearing its head on Grimm these day. Scary as all hell, we still like seeing folklore and fairy tales from all over the globe appearing in our modern multi-cultural world.
"A big thanks to Filipino-American actor Reggie Lee! The Filipino folklore ruled in the United States TV ratings which additionally emphasizes Filipino-American actor Reggie Lee, who plays Sergeant Wu on supernatural TV series “Grimm”. “Mommy Dearest” is the fourteenth episode of Season 3 of Grimm..... In Reggie’s interview, he related his part in helping create the story, how he gave the writers three mythical Pinoy creatures to choose from, and they wound up picking the aswang. “Binigay ko yung manananggal, yung dwende saka tiktik. But they really, really fell for the tiktik. So I was really happy that they stayed true to the Filipino story”, he said."

A very interesting use of the tale - read the excerpt (& the article) for a brief overview. The link above on Theater Nisha takes you to their production photos on Facebook.
Theatre Nisha’s version though, is not as happy as Anderson’s, reveals Sunandha. Where in the book she becomes a ‘daughter of the air’, on stage dies of a broken heart. “We wanted to give a context for the mermaid - a contrast and, at the same time, draw parallels to her story with modern day incidents,” explains the director.
On stage, Ariel not only rebels against what she is expected to do, but her actions are a metaphor for several incidents relating to women and their safety. “Through Ariel, we are confronting issues of honor killing, racism, fascism and maybe a little bit of jingoism that’s gotten a hold of us these days,” she says.
The characters are quite fluid – no one actor portrays the mermaid all by herself..."

Snow White's Apple
by Benjamin Lacombe
An article that caught my eye and stayed with me this week, about colors in illustrations contrasted with the mention of specific colors in fairy tales, as well as the conciseness of language used in fairy tales as opposed to retellings. Reminds me of discussions on the SurLalune boards.
"A fairytale does not have to try hard.  In keeping everything simple, it also keeps everything fresh. ‘Close by the King’s castle lay a great, dark forest’ leaves almost everything to your imagination, and then comes the ‘old lime tree’ and the cool well, and that’s as much as anyone needs to know.  A novelist might add a description of the well, providing it with a carved marble parapet or a rustic stone wall.  It might be beautifully written and very fine – but in a fairytale, it would merely get in the way....Colours in fairytales are strong, simple, basic, and meaningful.... White, black and red are meaningful colours because they are rare in nature and therefore noticeable. White is the colour of innocence, the colour of an untrodden fall of snow under which the whole landscape is transformed. A white dove is an emblem of peace, a black raven a signifier of wisdom. In some variants ofSnow-White, it is a raven which the queen sees against the snow, a more likely and a sharper contrast than an ebony window-frame. Black is unusual. Most birds are brownish: even today with our dulled attention to nature, we notice black crows and white swans.  Before chemical dyes, black was an expensive colour for clothes: it stood out: most people could not afford to wear it. And red of course is the most meaningful of all colours, the most emotionally charged.  Red is the colour that accompanies childbirth, wounds, war, accidents. Red is the stuff of life and death.... Colours in fairytales aren’t decoration, they aren’t even ‘just’ descriptive. They carry information.  They are a form of emphasis. And they can be relied upon. A golden head which rises to the surface of a well may be strange, but won't be evil. ..."

A collection of photos I haven't seen all together before. Some of it is that odd-vintage style but some of it is really wonderful. 

Seeing it all together, gives you a good idea of the mood this particular production evoked in the audience.
“The Blue Bird is a 1908 play by Belgian Maeterlinck. It premiered at Constantin Stanislavski’s Moscow Art Theatre.  
The story is about a girl, Mytyl, and her brother Tyltyl seeking happiness, represented by The Blue Bird, aided by the good fairy Bérylune.”

This looks like a lot of fun. Unfortunately I'm currently on the wrong continent...
Pulling no punches, this production is designed for a world raised on American idol. From the original fairy-tale Myers and O’Brien have created a 21st century music theatre spectacular for all ages. Conceived by the Windmill Theatre and the multi-Helpmann Award winning creative team behind last years hit play School Dance, this very physical, funny and heartfelt musical comedy looks set to accomplish that rare and wonderful feat – breaking new ground on a story we all thought we knew!

The promise of exclusive behind-the-scenes and making-of movie content is quite tempting to go check out, especially because... MALEFICENT!
“We’re about content-driven retail. That’s the beauty of our business model.”...Disney welcomed HSN’s fashion director and other executives on set to gather inspiration for the movie’s aesthetics via conversations with the art department, costume designers and other crew members. That intel was shared with HSN’s merchandise and marketing teams, as well as its go-to designers, who put together an exclusive collection comprising curated items as well as products designed specifically for the event.... Following the 24-hour launch event later that month, HSN will air Countdown to Maleficent specials in primetime every night leading up to the film’s May 30 release. ...(HSN and Disney) indicate that the programming will build upon the precedent set by their Oz partnership, which featured props, set pieces and trailers from the film as well as appearances by star Mila Kunis and the movie’s makeup artist."
UPDATE 4-12-14: I neglected to add a link to HSN in case you want to check them out. Apologies! You can find the site HERE and this HERE is where news on the Maleficent merchandise & specials will be updated. If I get any advance news I will be sure to share that with you too.

Fan Made poster (source)
Slightly older news but if you haven't heard it yet, you need to know: Yes, the Harry Potter spin-off will now be  "three megamovies" and J.K. Rowling will be doing the screenplay (it's her screenwriting debut). 

And check out the fan-made Harry Potter-styled moving poster! I have a strong feeling we are on the verge of "gif posters" as being the new official advertising medium as well. You heard it here first.. ;) 
"That is when Warner announced that Ms. Rowling had agreed to adapt for the big screen her “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a 2001 book billed as one of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbooks. Three megamovies are planned. 
The main character will be a “magizoologist” named Newt Scamander. The stories, neither prequels or sequels, will start in New York about seven decades before the arrival of Mr. Potter and his pals."

Known as Shakespeare's fairy tale or a Roman-era Snow White, this film is currently in production with no release date yet announced. Although this is older news because it's been happening for a while now, I haven't mentioned it yet as details have taken a really long time to trickle in, a trailer released late last year has been removed from everywhere and it's still pretty under the radar overall. It would appear, though, that we're finally getting closer to seeing the film finished and released. 
The cast is stellar, including Dakota Johnson as Imogen (that's the Snow White character), Milla Jovovich as Queen, Ethan Hawke as Iachimo and Ed Harris as Cymbeline. 
(See the link on the title for a little more information and the 'reboot' link for film style details.)
Phew! I'm going to stop there as that's an awful lot for one post but this is by no means everything happening with fairy tales in the last week. Seriously. I'll bring you some more news tomorrow...

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