|Artwork - R. Black|
The thousand years of baggage, according to the play's creators, is all professors' (mea culpa) contributions to the critical study of the Old English original:
Monsters and professors collide in blood-soaked Scandinavia as this hefty poem is rescued from 1,000 years of analysis and transformed into a defiantly raucous dissertation on art and violence. With an 8-piece band including dueling trombones, bass clarinet, accordion and saw, Beowulf combines Weillian cabaret, 40's jazz harmony, indie rock, punk, electronica and Romantic lieder into a cacophonous swirl.I love the Old English poem, have studied it, read and re-read it, translated it, and written about it. The video clips I've seen of the Banana Bag and Bodice production are exciting and shine a different and important light on the poem - let's face it; how much beer and debauchery can one get across in class?!
The play seems a much better take on the classic than the recent movie. The movie with Angelina Jolie may stand on its own merits as a movie, or not, but does a disservice to the great work of art that the poem Beowulf is. Banana Bag and Bodice adds something that needs adding.
The video clip is of King Hrothgar lamenting is fate, what with the decimation of his Danes for twelve winters by Grendel. (Some might find some of the language offensive.)
(The title of this post if from the Banana Bag and Bodice write-up of the play.)