This is what happens when you don’t read the plot synopsis

I didn’t read the plot synopsis before the show started.
I mean, I totally know what happens in Giselle, who cares if I’ve never actually seen it before, I can totes figure it out, right?
Way more fun to people-watch the audience and read dancer bios until the house lights go down.
And while we are talking about bios, the Adult Beginner loves to read bios and see where people are from, which, turns out, is a neat thing about the Royal New Zealand Ballet- most of the dancers are actually from New Zealand or Australia. 20 of the 34, if I counted correctly. Which makes me happy because I always sit down before a ballet hoping to see something with a certain signature feeling of whatever place the ballet represents, and 99% of the time I discover as soon as I open the program that the overwhelming majority of the company is not even from that place.
I know, it’s naive in today’s global globe to think, like, NYCB is going to be all cold sophisticated independent glittery hard-edged… wait maybe they are. The Adult Beginner has never seen NYCB perform so who knows.
But anyway, I mean, it’s not like I literally think Giselle is going to have a New Zealand twist, I just like to think maybe there’s a certain level of cultural references and slangy shorthand and understanding that the company falls into easily together because they grew up in the same world.
I would never assume this about the LA Ballet, of course, because we all know nobody is actually from Los Angeles.
Anyway, so I didn’t read the plot synopsis and the lights went down and the curtain went up and these two dudes wandered out onstage and started kinda walking around and gesturing at this empty peasant village.
Which was really a beautiful set by the way. Loved the layers of tree branches overhead. High five to Howard C. Jones.
But anyway these dudes were wandering around and gesturing for kind of a long time and I was like, “Oh. No. Who are these guys?? What are they even doing?!?”
Figure the guy with the sword was probably Albrecht, our male lead, and the other guy was a manservant or something because he was wearing a red jacket with gold braid and was following the first guy around.
So I left with no choice but to interpret the situation this way:

ALBRECHT (removes sword from belt, gives sword to MANSERVANT, walks downstage)
MANSERVANT (gives ALBRECHT the up-and-down, pursues ALBRECHT downstage)
MANSERVANT (taps ALBRECHT on shoulder, gestures to ALBRECHT’S nether regions) Dude Bro, you forgot your pants?
ALBRECHT (looks down at nether regions) Ah yes. So I have. (chuckles to self, shakes head) Well here, you might as well take this too. (removes French horn from belt, gives horn to MANSERVANT) It would be silly to wear a horn with no pants.

Be this a lesson to you, Gentle Reader. Read the plot synopsis before you see one of these big olde time mime-heavy story ballets for the first time.
And really, why no pants Albrecht?
I mean, ok technically he was wearing very pale tan-ish cream-ish tights. But those tights just look so naked! Especially when All the other men are wearing actual pants. Like breeches. I mean, like, you can keep the tights just as tight as they wanna be while taking the pale color down a notch and seaming them to look like riding pants, or military trousers, or work pants, or something?
Harrumph.

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About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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14 Responses to This is what happens when you don’t read the plot synopsis

  1. Physio Fit says:

    Thanks so much for this post… really made me giggle.

  2. Nadine says:

    Laughing way too loudly at this and being shushed by my family! I can have a pretty good guess at who would be dancing Albrecht with Lucy . . . Too funny! :)

    • There was a switch-up in casting and I got to see both Albrechts!
      I thought they were both fantastic, and man, what a great male role that is. All those jumps and beats in Act II, super fun to watch.

  3. jenerators says:

    *giggle*
    PS it’s probably a hunting horn, not a french horn.

  4. You know, that’s something I always think about when going to a ballet – no, not why the guys are pantless! But should I just watch and (I guess!) have the same experience someone had when this was first presented ever (meaning I should get as much as I can from the story without reading the plot), or should I just throw spoilers at myself and read the whole plot before watching?
    Sometimes I leave the decision for the intermission – if I’m not following, I just read the darn thing before it starts again. But I’m always frustrated if I can’t follow the story, I blame the choreographer for that.
    And I didn’t like the end of Lake Swan, so I just imagined a different one. Ballets are always tragic, I can’t cope with that everyday. FYI the spell is broken, she’s a girl again and they get married and live happily ever after.

  5. RO says:

    Hahahah this made me laugh!!

  6. Jane Lambert says:

    Well that was just the start of Act I. What did you make of the mad scene towards the end of that Act? And how about Act II? I’d love to know what you made of the wilis. Do you think Hilarion deserved to be bumped off just because he blew Albrecht’s cover? Although I love the music and the choreography I find something very dark about the plot. I prefer not to think of it and to treat it though it had been choreographed by Balanchine,

  7. Basia says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha!!
    thanks, needed that!

  8. Janet says:

    I had to provide a quick synopsis of Giselle to my guest on the drive over. She had never seen live Ballet, and her online viewing was very limited. Thank goodness I had read the program notes so many times. I was able to explain the story and the important things to watch for. Wish the program notes discussed the symbolism of the flowers, branches, and grave in the woods in Act Two.

    Program notes are much less helpful for abstract ballets. Sometimes the degree of pompous puffery is hilarious as well as disgusting.

    Albrecht’s pants deficiency is supposed to make him looked like a peasant. Puffy pants were for the rich and powerful.

  9. Jane Lambert says:

    Just a thought on trousers. You might prefer La Sylphide which is also a romantic ballet, In that work the male dancers wear kilts and not tights. I much prefer La Sylphide to Giselle for other reasons. It is set in Scotland for a start and there is no liaison with the spirit world.

  10. Stephbo says:

    I totally thought of this post two nights ago when we saw Romeo and Juliette. It’s been a while since I’ve read the story, but boy and girl meet, fall in love, get married in secret, spend a night together, and then they both bite it in the end, right? Well, yeah, but I had forgotten all about Rosalind and Tivolt and tons of other stuff. And apparently it was choreographed and “told” from the Friar’s perspective. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who all the people were and why the Friar was creeping around the stage in scenes where he shouldn’t have been. I just decided to watch the dancing, which was beautiful. And then I used the intermission to read the freakin’ program.

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