Questions on my mind about a "Ballad Opera" "An Ideal Husband" adaptation
Questions on my mind about a "Ballad Opera" "An Ideal Husband" adaptation oscar wilde stories
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transpiration
transpiration Community member
Autoplay OFF   •   2 years ago
Nominally, at this point, I'm using public domain music, mostly from the years between 1900-1922, so my setting is for the time being Washington, DC, not long after the War to End All Wars. However, I have some decisions to make regarding the text.

Questions on my mind about a "Ballad Opera" "An Ideal Husband" adaptation

Nominally, at this point, I'm using public domain music, mostly from the years between 1900-1922, so my setting is for the time being Washington, DC, not long after the War to End All Wars.

However, I have some decisions to make regarding the text.

This is something I'm thinking of adding to Oscar Wilde's play An Ideal Husband, which is set shortly before the turn of that century, 1895 I believe, and Wilde's script is just superb.

In that scene I was basically trying to follow the cadences of Lord Goring, the dandy of the piece, as Wilde wrote him.

The decision, basically, is whether I should update the whole script, including my extra material, to an early 1920s American style,

calling on reference works to help with idioms and slang and just "the way folks talked then"--the upper class Washingtonians--or whether to keep Wilde's dialogue and way of speaking as it is.

I have seen directors' performances of lots of plays, mainly much older ones like Antigone or Shakespeare and suchlike,

performed with sets and costumes from settings other than the originals; one Antigone I've used in classes was performed in Victorian costumes,

and I know full well that there are plenty of Shakespeare productions and films where the nominal setting is the present day, such as that Ethan Hawke (?) Hamlet.

Heck, this happens even with Wagner.

One touchstone for me is an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado" that does all the musical numbers in a jazz style (or what is called jazz,

but some argue that without improvisation it's not "real jazz", but that's beside the point).

That version is a mix of the original lyrics and the songs' melodies and chord changes, which are public domain, but the new arrangements of the songs are copyrighted.

I don't know what the set and costumes were like.

But anyway I have to decide basically if I want to rewrite the Wilde in minor ways to sound more "roaring twenties" American, or not. The time periods are not so distant from each other.

The Britishisms and references to the Prime Minister and the Season in London are not hard to change, and I've changed references to London to New York, but more recently again to Washington.

I grew up close to Washington and so that's my old stomping grounds. I have the leads changed from members of the House of Commons to Senators, congressmen, and the house of representatives.

All very surface changes.

The year 1922 was chosen for a simple reason: that's the last year that everything is in the public domain now.

With some changes of songs, I could have done it for 1912, the year of the Titanic sinking and The Music Man, among other notable events (I've done the Music Man twice so far,

and the Mikado once).

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