Tonight, we headed down to the Royal Alex to see the stage play, musical “Pippin”. This Tony Award-winner is based on the life and times of Charlemagne’s eldest son, Pippin. Now, if I studied Charlemagne and Pippin once in University, I studied them a hundred times (one of my double majors was History afterall) so it was fun and funny to see Pippin the Hunchback in a musical light. Poor Pippin was formally disinherited in 780AD but allowed to remain at court.
I am actually related to Pippin through my mother’s side of the family. Details on all that can be found here. My link to Pippin is through Hildegard (Charlemagne’s 3rd wife). It is this same Hildegard (called “Fastrata” in the play) that did poor Pippin in as he was a threat to my great-great-many-times-over grandma’s own son by Charlemagne, Carolman. Carolman, after Pippin was disinherited through Hildegard’s machinations, actually took the name “Pippin” just to further confuse things beyond all recognition. Got all that?! Yeesh!
Anyway, while tonight’s show had the distinctive mark of Fosse all over it, and while the two leads were very good singers, the entire production seems dated to me (it premiered in October 1972). Ben Vereen played the “Leading Player” in that production and Jill Clayburgh played “Catherine” which would have been something.
Much like watching a remount of the musical Hair, you get a distinct been-there, done-that feel with this production.
And speaking of Jill Clayburgh, gosh, remember her in Bertolucci’s brilliant 1979 Italian film, La Luna? I LOVED this film and have watched it several times. It was utterly controversial for its day and age but clearly displays Bertolucci’s brilliance. It is, in a word, a masterpiece.
Written by Franco Arcalli (who also did Once Upon A Time in America), it is famous for its ice-cream palour seduction and – of course – for the incestuous scenes of mother Caterina (played by Jill) masturbating her heroin-addicted son, Joe (played by Matthew Barry). The film remained mythically near-impossible to acquire on video, CD or DVD until March this year when Castlerock Italy finally, joyously released a DVD version. I do have a copy of course … but on video. In keeping with the Youtubed nature of life these days, it has been morphed in B-quality here. It is a film that requires patience. My rating 10 out of 10.