Friday, June 12, 2009
Giselle ... the true story
Last night I saw the American Ballet production of Giselle. This ballet is a classic, this is probably my third or fourth time seeing but as I watched yesterday something occurred to me that I never got before ... everyone got the story wrong!
Plot: Giselle, or G is a simple girl living in a simple town when a man comes strolling through, this is actually the Count Albrecht in disguise. G falls head over heels with Count which pisses off H, who is madly in love with our girl G. Of course, it turns out that Count is actually engaged to a noble woman (the only character who treats G with any kind of respect). After finding out that she can never be with Count, G kills herself (at least she did in the original, most productions now have her dying of a broken heart ... which I cant even type without gagging). In the second act, both men come to the forest to grieve at G's grave when ghostly lady demons appear, these are spirits of women wronged by men, who kill any man they encounter. They kill H and try to kill Count but G rises from her grave and stops them from killing him long enough for the sun to come out and the spirits to go back to their graves. So, H dies, Count lives, and G rests in peace and does not become a man-killing ghost.
The standard theory goes thusly: G saved Count because she loved him so much and for years I was confused by this. Why did she save the man who betrayed her and allow the man who loved her to die.
Well last night it hit me, who really won here? Ok, I get it, no one! But, take a leap with me here, in the world of Giselle, there are ghosts so the characters who die get to exist afterwards. So, actually, H gets to be with G in the after life and spend his ghostly existence admiring her BUT Count gets to live the rest of his miserable life knowing he betrayed both his fiance and the woman he loved. Not only that, but since G saved him from the ghosts, the Count has to live with the guilt of knowing that she saved his life even though he lied to her and caused her untimely demise. Not only THAT, but G let the ghostly ladies torture the Count all night long and saved him just short of death each time ... so homeboy was miz all night long - bruised and beaten. NOT ONLY THAT, but she sent Count home to his fiance after he stayed out all night ... and I am certain the lady gave him an earful ... if not a fistful!
Point being, in my childhood it bugged me that she saved the Count! I hated feeling like she was just some moron who stood up for a big tool and refused to believe the truth of the fact that she loved a d-bag! But now I realize, she punished the coward by giving him the opportunity to live without her and suffer for his misdeeds .... and put her admirer out of his misery. Giselle is my girl! Props to her .. well you know except for that whole going nuts and killing herself bit ... not so much into that part.