By eight, the morning fog must disappear.
In short, there's simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
Even in a musical, this idyllic world cannot last forever. The problems of the real world - war, greed, betrayal - come crashing in despite the legendary King Arthur's dreams of peace. Perhaps turning a blind eye to reality is not the best way to keep the peace, but it sure was nice while it lasted. Even though I have some issues with the book, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres beautifully brings the mystical and idyllic world of Camelot to life with gorgeous design, a fantastic cast, and beautiful music.
|Arthur (Keith Rice) and Lancelot (Aleks Knezevich,|
photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp)
From a feminist perspective, Camelot leaves much to be desired. It definitely doesn't pass the Bechdel test; Guinevere is the only female character who speaks (although none of the minor characters speak or are at all fleshed out). Like in the myth of Adam and Eve, it's a woman's sin that brings about the downfall of the Utopian world. Guinevere is punished for her crime of adultery (a sudden love with no foundation) by being sentenced to be burned at the stake, a fate met by tens or even hundreds of thousands of women in medieval Europe, typically strong, independent women who threatened the patriarchy. A fate from which she's saved by a man (not Arthur, but Lancelot). Not that Guinevere is a week character; she is a strong woman and a partner to Arthur, although her role is definitely defined by the limitations of the era and consists mostly of telling Arthur how clever he is. But I've been enjoying seeing women's stories told by women on stage lately, and Camelot is definitely not one of them.
|"The Lusty Month of May" (photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp)|
|Helen Anker as Guinevere|
(photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp)
While I've learned that Camelot isn't my favorite musical, there is much to love in Chanhassen's production of the Lerner and Loewe classic, namely the fantastic cast, gorgeous design, and wonderful music. Camelot continues through February 2017.