Friday, October 14, 2016

The Significance of Doors in the Disney Cruise Stage Version of 'Frozen'

There is a little news about the Broadway version of Frozen that's being developed to a new, and soon, deadline, but Disney has already staged a number of theatrical versions, including the Disney Parks Fairy Tale Theater version, which we were happily surprised to see used classic storytelling devices and techniques, and the Frozen on Ice skating spectacular. Now Disney Cruises are working on their own version and are close to setting sail with their new production.

This adaptation uses much larger traditional theatrical set and prop elements than the wonderfully spare Disney Parks one, including large marionettes and other puppets and multiple versions of one of the most basic theatrical props of all time: the movable door.
From the script to the set design, choreography and more, doors play a huge role in “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular,” our newest theatrical production premiering in November aboard the Disney Wonder.

Doors have great significance in fairy tales, from forbidden chambers, secrets and encouraging curiosity, to portals to new worlds or adventures and avenues of escape, in more ways than one. Even Red Riding Hood uses a door with great significance.

It was nice to see that doors were also one of the more subtle motifs used throughout Frozen (in addition to the obvious Love Is An Open Door song), and that helped give the story, instead of just the visuals, a fairy tale feel. In Frozen, doors are barred, slammed, struggled through, swung open to reveal cold emptiness and closed in malice, while characters teeter on the threshold, shut the world out and themselves in, crack them open making themselves vulnerable and keep them firmly closed as a barrier between them and others. Clued into this motif, it would be interesting to see how broadly this metaphor is explored and how that might link the tale back to its fairy tale roots.

Here's a little video celebrating Disney Cruise's significance of doors in their new show Frozen: A Musical Spectacular:
Aside: A note about something that has always bothered us: Love Is An Open Door, is song about the positive possibilities and freedom that love gives us, yet Hans is deceitful and while Anna is singing with all her heart, he - if he's true to his later-revealed character - is singing this with full-blown irony, as far as their relationship goes! In the same vein Let It Go, is touted as song about empowerment, not being shackled by the past yet Elsa is busy building herself a prison of ice that mirrors the palace she just fled and finishes by slamming the outer door, locking herself inside, showing, she hasn't "let it go" at all. It's not until the end that Elsa realizes how to be free of her outer and inner prisons and it's nothing to do with letting go. The doors speak the truth more clearly throughout the movie than the characters (and possibly the writers) ever realize.
Fairy Tale Bonus of the Day:
There is a less-than-professional recording of the Disneyland Fantasy Faire Royal Theater presentation of Frozen. We were fortunate enough to see it live, and can report that all the enthrallment that excellent storytelling involves, was present. With barely any props and extremely basic 'effects' each child - and many adults - saw magic happening in front of their eyes, and were more engrossed in the telling than we've seen at any Disney presentation, including many movie showings, in a long time. We loved the little touches like the refrain In the Hall of the Mountain King (from Peer Gynt) played as Anna is taken to the rock trolls as child. There are many smart 'notes' through this simple, but very effective, little play.
For your enjoyment/study (note: things really get going around the 4 minute mark): 

1 comment:

  1. I've also always been bothered by the irony of Love is an Open Door. So it was nice to see that at the end of Frozen: Live at the Hyperion (which is still my favorite stage version, even though the Fairy Tale Theatre version is also very charming) it got a reprise at the Grand Finale which spun it into a positve message about real love