how closely does the musical version tie to the plot of the play?
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Fairly closely, although they musical cut a few scenes. The music is great, BTW, as it is done in rock and roll style while freezing the action on the stage as each of the characters gets their musical interlude.
The harshest scene in the musical is still the seduction/rape of Wendla, which closely mirrors the play.
From what I understand, the musical and play are very similar. From what I understand though some things have been a little bit toned down. What was "toned down" were probably the scene that were cut. I have question though. In the play, does Wendla confess (to herself) that she let him, like, rape her? 'Cause in the musical, in the song "Whispering" she does. I want to read the play but I don't want to seem like some horny high schooler. Thank you!
a few things are different. there are two extra boy characters in wedekind's play: lammermeier and robert. the former supplies the surname for otto the later was changed into a girl character: anna. in the play georg has an oedipus complex, in the musical otto is the one with the complex and georg has it for another character new to the story, his piano teacher. and it's not so much that scenes are cut, as they are shortened, or lengthened, or interpruted differently. for instance, in the song "my junk" scenes from act I scene 3 (the girls minus ilse) and act II scene 3 (hanschen's monologue) are combined along with a new scene of georg at his piano lesson. it's quite clever, and i commend sater's adaptation. he reinterprut the scene (much to the disgust of jonathan franzen *i highly do not recommend this version--the bently is the most comprehensive.*) especially with hanschen in a most...hmm...interesting way... to answer your question jacqui, in the bently translation of the play, wendla, in act II scene 6, has a small monologue where she is confused about what melchior did to her. she knows it was wrong, but she can't help smiling because she knows she is a woman now. don't worry, i read it in high school, and no one thought i was horny...of course, we were all reading BRAVE NEW WORLD for English class at that time, too...one last thing, some people don't like the way the scene between hanschen and ernst is interpruted in the musical. some people think hanschen just seems like some heartless seducer of a naive ernst, where in the play the kiss(es) is/are more mutual. personally, it really doesn't matter to me, i treat it like i treat movies based on books that i like--if the message is still the same, but the events a little different, it doesn't really matter, it's still a good show. too bad it's closing...
I saw the musical before reading the play was admittedly astounded at the way it was dealt with-it's ability to appeal to the widest rage of people possible was inspiring. For instance-the whole revolutionary idea of having all the adult characters played by a single actor and actress. Allowing each and every actor/character in the spotlight. However i found the ending extremely disapointing- what they fail to understand is the significance of the appearance of the masked man and Moritz as Melchior's choice comes to life. It was too neat that Wedla and Mortiz should be his saviour. Well they must have their reasons. I just wouldn't mind knowing why. Everything in the play leads up to this point-everything Melchior strives for ends in disaster. He may be the moral center of the character group but his actions result in Wedla's death and the ruin of his own life (aka the essay).If he has such a deep understanding of the compexity of human nature-the reason he acts on his impulses are all part of his inner being and the complex discussion through the representation of death (Moritz) and the masked man (life/salvation) is vital. Also Moritz being portrayed as a Martyr is utterly wrong-you can't just change him for the sake of a soppy ending. Tha eats away at yor heart.