29th Aug 2012
Carol Ann Duffy Takes On Rapunzel
Rapunzel is about to get a reworking as a ballet by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Commissioned by Sadler’s Wells theatre, the piece will open at the Durham Book Festival in October, moving to Hull, Newcastle and then London in March.
Duffy’s first dance collaboration will be choreographed by Liv Lorent. The pair have promised to infuse the tale with darkness and terror, echoing the earlier Grimm Brothers’ version. The Grimm brothers themselves adapted the story from the original folktale, Petrosinella by Giambattista Basile in 1634.
There have been countless versions of the story since then, and the versions vary wildly. In some, Rapunzel is stolen from swindler parents as punishment for their wicked ways.
In another, the enchantress steals the baby from her parents who have no interest in a child who will remain bald throughout her life (and so she is taken away and given long hair).
She can be assertive, or foolish, and, occasionally, shed tears that have magical properties. Duffy has not given any further clues about this latest incarnation.
This is not the first time she has reworked a fairytale. In 1999 she published The World’s Wife, a collection of poems focusing on the hidden perspective of female characters in history myth and story. She says of the process, “the re-telling and reinterpretation is part of the lifeblood of literature.”
We can’t wait to see this heroine in the hands of Duffy, particularly after Rapunzel’s recent adoption by Disney, who suck the humanity out of all their their heroines (see Tangled, 2010).
And I don’t think we need to talk about the Barbie version, which may well be inadvertently more twisted and dark than any previous version.
Which folk or fairytale would you like to see reworked?
Photo courtesy of balletLORENT