Friday night, I drove to Camera City to see Drama Niece in a school play. She goes to a special school for the arts, and they take their plays very seriously. That means gorgeous costumes and set designs. It also means that they tend to actually stick to the script, which is most unfortunate, because they were performing Cinderella and the script could seriously use some tweaking to bring it up to date.
I couldn’t help but think of the changes I would have made if I were in charge of the play. For instance, when the king and queen were fretting over their son, wondering how they could find him a woman, planning the ball as a ritual of heterosexual pairing, I so wanted the Prince to walk in and announce that he was gay.
If I were Cinderella and I was trying to seduce a man, I think I would stick with the peasant outfit she wore in the first scene, with its tight-fitting bodice that showed the shape of her breasts, the lowcut white peasant blouse, and the brown skirt that kept hiking up to show bare nicely shaped legs. I mean, that whole outfit was just way sexier than the puffy princess dress, with all the frills, the heavy make-up, and her hair pulled severely back. That godmother sure as hell didn’t do her any favors.
The fairy godmother's dress was beautiful, pink and glittery, but she must get tired of always smiling sweetly. Even a fairy godmother ought to be able to have a bad day once in a while and throw a few lightning bolts around just for the heck of it, or tell the annoying whining Cinderella to fuck off. It is hard to believe that a woman would have all kinds of amazing magical powers and then use them simply to conjure up another princess costume.
Of course, I blame Cinderella for that. I mean, if you were a poor peasant girl and you had just one wish, would you use it to turn a plain yellow pumpkin into a golden carriage? Maybe she should have asked for college tuition instead.
The one good part of the play was that that it was not totally sexist. I mean, the male characters were pathetic too. The prince, who was not charming in the least and had not a single line that revealed any sort of intelligence, curiosity, or wit, had this pathetic scene in which he says he will never be complete unless he finds a woman. Specifically, he needed the woman in the princess costume he had known for ten minutes. It was all I could do not to leap from the audience screaming, "Honey, you need therapy!"
Of all the myths about romantic love that I detest, this idea that a person is incomplete without a spouse is perhaps the one I despise the most. Who would want to marry a pathetic Prince who thinks he is incomplete without a woman? Especially an arrogant Prince who just assumes that every woman would want to marry him. Who would want to marry the peasant woman who thinks her only route to happiness is to marry Old Money? Especially one who is as mild and meek as a mouse. Ugh. Fuck. I mean, fol-de rol and fiddle dee dee.
I think the fairy godmother was completely irresponsible. She not only listened to Cinderella’s pathetic plan to go to the ball, but went along with the plan. I would have had more respect for the fairy godmother if she’d slapped Cinderella upside the head. And clearly the king and queen should have swallowed their royal pride and sent the son to therapy before listening to one more sappy song about how he was lying in the loneliness of evening. Clearly, the prince needs to figure out who he is, and become complete and confident, a whole person himself, before he is ready for marriage. Sheesh.
The part with the glass slipper has never made any sense anyhow. We are expected to believe that Cinderella's feet are such an unusual size that no other woman in the entire kingdom could wear her shoes? Yeah, that is attractive. I thought the way to update that scene would be to make the item of clothing she left behind a bra. I mean, we all know that getting a bra to fit correctly is indeed difficult. And that would explain what the two were doing on the balcony during the musical interlude. If she'd left a bra behind at midnight, Prince's panting pursuit of her would make a bit more sense. The scene where all the village girls line up to be fitted, eagerly thrusting their bare feet at the royal guard, would be far livelier if it were a bra they were trying on. And unusually sized breasts seem somehow more appealing than unusually sized feet.
In the end, I guess I just had a hard time rallying enthusiasm for a heroine who acts the part of the helpless woman, sitting alone in her own little corner in her own little chair, waiting for a fairy godmother or rich man to rescue her. The only person in the whole damned play that I could admire was the evil stepmother. Okay, maybe she was a little bossy, but at least she had personality.