marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

philosophizing on frameworks

Being inspired by my third visit to see the Christmas Revels.  In which, of course, the story is an excuse to fit together songs, dances, and anything else they chose to throw in.  Not unlike, say, The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy's travels are as much an excuse to move her about Oz and let Baum show off its regions as a way to get home (possibly more).  Or, more closely, Arabian Nights, or The Black Thief And The Knight Of The Glen.

The first time I went, the framework was a modern day couple who owned an English country house they can't really afford and their children went to it on Christmas Day.  And the ghosts there were celebrating their Christmas.  (One suspects that the ease of costuming everyone when you could raid all sorts of costumes had some effect.  0:)  And this last time, a group of Irish immigrants got on boat and arrived in New York City at the end, with all the Christmas celebrations they could muster inbetween.  (You want a Welsh song -- well, actually, the pursuer is Welsh and speaks proudly of Welsh carols.)  Gathering people with a motive for festivities, or telling tales, is an excellent frame for either.

Last year was -- less good.  They started with a festivity in a French village, but then they had a sort of mythic effect where evil forces stole the sun, the moon, and the stars, and characters had to on a search for them.  Part of the problem is that if you set out to be mythic, you need to be mythic.  And they didn't get the scale they needed for that.  The tie to the village shoved it toward legendary, and they weren't shocked enough by the anomaly to really qualify as legendary.  But part of the problem is that while the quest is a natural framework -- you just plop the stuff in the path -- they didn't realize it and didn't integrate stuff as what they found on the way.  (I think part of the problem was that it wasn't stolen quickly enough, and so the story wasn't dominated by the quest.

Tags: myths and legends, quest, story structure

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