Friday, March 27, 2020

Our "Into the Woods" Moment

Recently I saw Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical "Into the Woods" performed by Michigan State University theatre students, directed by Deric McNish with music direction by David Wendelberger. The show and its songs have come back to haunt me in recent weeks as I realize we are having our own global "Into the Woods" moment.


The film, which starred Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and James Cordon, among others, came out in 2015 and when I saw it, I wrote about it HERE in more detail. I heartily recommend it for those of you sheltering in place who enjoy musicals and it is fine for the whole family, although very little ones may get a little scared. It periodically makes its way onto cable but is available for streaming on a number of sites.

For those who don't know it, the play/film is based on (mostly) Grimm Fairy Tales and many of the characters -- Red Riding Hood, Jack (of Beanstalk fame), Cinderella and others are familiar friends to those of us who grew up before "Spongebob" and "Curious George." The first act ends "happily ever after"; the second act reminds us that "ever after" doesn't always last.

As McNish pointed out to his students as they began rehearsals, the play's underlying theme of "giants in the sky" that can turn a happy ending into a time of terror. This has been equated in the past to the AIDS epidemic (which was kicking in as Sondheim and Lapine wrote the show) and 9/11 (which was around the time of one of its many Broadway revivals.)


In my earlier post I equated it to the then-current tornado in Joplin on prom night and the recent terror bombings in France.

When I saw the show in February, I had no idea that within a month we would be experiencing our own "Into the Woods" moment.


When the giant comes down from the sky in retribution, determined to destroy the kingdom, panic ensues. The Baker's shop has been destroyed and his wife is dead. Jack's mother killed. Cinderella has left her prince who is longing for an affair with Sleeping Beauty. Red Riding Hood's grandmother has died. These four main characters -- all of whom have either experienced tremendous loss because of the giant's wrath -- realize that they must work together to help beat this enormous foe.

Together, and only together, can they get out of the woods.


And so, they do. They come up with a plan. They work as a "community" of sorts, taking care of one another and defeating the giant. They remind us that "no one is alone."


We have a giant in our midst. We have a plan -- Stay Home.  We must work as community -- a global community -- to beat the giant. We must remember that staying home or keeping a spatial distance is as important in its own quiet way as the difficult work the front line personnel are doing.

If we have to be out, we must remind those who don't keep distance to back away. We must cover our coughs, sterilize our counters and door knobs, phones and remotes. We must wash our hands -- again and again. For if we can stay home and stay well -- for a long period of time -- we can make their work much easier. We can save lives, too. Not just our own, but others.


We must follow the plan.


Please. Stay Home. Stay Well.

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48 comments:

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

That was a lovely post, Jeanie. I have not seen that movie (yet). I agree that we are all in this together, regardless of whether your particular corner of the world has been directly affected or not. As we well know, that can turn on a dime. This means no more "popping out" for this or that. People need to plan ahead, so they don't have to go to the store multiple times a week (no, I don't mean hoarding). Keep well and keep posting! :) -Jenn

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Fantastic photographs and well worded blog post. I hadn't seen that movie, but I like the parallels you show to the current covid-19 crisis, and past crises.

I'm doing my part, and only going out for essential purposes. (And I started doing that in the weeks before Connecticut put in a Lock Down for us on March 23, 2020, which made it mandatory to do.) I've seen other bloggers echoing some of your words: "You are not alone. We are all in this together." I've found reading those words posted by others and you reassuring during this stressful time.

R's Rue said...

Beautiful.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Jeanie,

Wow gorgeous photos, the colors are beautiful. We are doing our part, staying home. Stay safe, stay well! Wishing you a happy day!

Valerie-Jael said...

Great post with wonderful photos. We are all together in this, and we will get through it by being sensible, staying home and sticking to the hygiene rules. Hugs, Valerie

Laurie said...

Such a wonderful post,, I can just imagine the beauty of your woods, I haven't see the movie but it certainly opens our eyes, keep well,

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

I have not seen the film either but I love your summary/exploration of it and, of course, your photographs which are always top drawer.

Pam said...

This was wonderful and beautifully imaged with your photos. Thanks.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It is really difficult for some people to stay home. For those of us who own a home, and have a backyard, we can at least get out there, talk to the neighbours over the fence (maintaining a safe distance of course), putter in the garden, fill the bird feeders, watch the squirrels squabble. For someone living alone in a studio apartment in a high-rise building it is a whole other matter. I have a young friend, a graduate student who I have mentored a little in ornithology, who is in just such a situation, and she is a runner too. We can debate all the pros and cons, but I think she NEEDS to get out. She is a sensible young woman and will not do anything foolish, but she needs fresh air and greenery at a bare minimum, and if she can find a place to run so much the better. Going up and down in the elevator may be her biggest problem, because I am sure people don't stand two metres apart on each floor and get in one by one, go down to the lobby, and have the whole process repeated until scores of people have been able to leave their apartments. And then they all have to get back in of course.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Well said.

Carola Bartz said...

Well said, Jeanie. Staying home is the sensible thing to do. Here parks, open spaces and beaches were closed because people came out in huge crowds and didn't keep distance - that was a problem. The officials didn't have a choice but to close. Luckily I have a rather green neighborhood, an old cemetery nearby and the woods right across the street, so walking here is quite nice. Grocery shopping once a week. And tomorrow I'm going to teach online for the very first time. I can't wait to see my students via Zoom.
Stay healthy, enjoy your books and everything you're doing inside.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

This is a wonderful post which uplifts my spirit and makes my heart smile. Yes we are in the woods and really need to band together to make it out of our dark night. Thank you for being you again - your words are reassuring.

DUTA said...

The mushroom picture is very attractive!
I like your optimism style - together, we shall overcome.

Susan Kane said...

That is one fun movie. It is one we would see again. Excellent talent. And the woods! None like that are here in our dry climate.

Your tie-in our struggles now was very applicable.

Our songbirds are happy with our bird seed block. I thought I recognized a lesser goldfinch. I need to get a songbird book for Calif.

Marilyn Miller said...

Definitely good words to remind us to stay in place. At this point I don't even want to go to the market or off my property. What beautiful pictures, I just love them. Now I will see if I can find the show online. Thanks for the recommendation.

My name is Erika. said...

That is an interesting comparison to Into The Woods. I have seen the film-never the play- but it is a great connection to our world right now. Yes, we must work together and we must all be smart and not be together. This pandemic is so scary and so are some of our leaders right now too. Well, perhaps because they are not really being leaders. Happy start to your weekend Jeanie. Hugs-Erika

Danielle L Zecher said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I'm going to look for it. We finally have a stay home order here, now we just have to hope people follow it.

GretchenJoanna said...

I love how (in our own "scary woods") so many people are doing a very hard thing for the sake of the community. You make me want to see "Into the Woods" again -- I only saw it once, and loved it, at least ten years ago.

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

A wonderful post, Jeanie - I love how you connected the movie with our current times and your photos are so beautiful. It is so true that we must all do our part to defeat 'the giant' and only by working together will we get out of the woods. So perfect. I don't understand people that don't take this seriously. Don't they value their loved ones or their own lives? I just pray that thoughtful and caring people like you are protected by divine grace. I've been trying to focus on all the good that people are doing now to help each other get through this. Everyone in blogland comes to mind. Stay safe and sane. Sending hugs xo Karen

Evi Erlinda said...

I do!
I stay at home.

Love your posts! I always enjoy reading them.

Take care!

Rustic Pumpkin said...

I have not heard of this film, but it's a great analogy. I have been self isolating for a couple weeks now, starting to get into the new routine as more normal too.

Stay safe, stay well

~~~Deb in Wales

Iris Flavia said...

That is a scary "true" story.
Here they still have "Corona parties" and fines are getting high, but the people do not learn.
We cannot get tested, but I must admit I never coughed or had fever in March. I stay home, I still can smell, taste, breathe, but am weak.
Wash your hands is the motto, but with so many dumb people around.. I keep my breath for some metres if an idiot comes near when I had to go shopping (Hubby does that now).
It is scary.
Hope it´s under control soon!

Beyda'nın Kitaplığı said...

Orman yürüyüşlerini özledim. Virüs bitsin bir an önce.

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, a great post and beautiful photos. And, you are so right - "there is a giant among us." We have to fight him together. This is all so scary and becomes more so by the day. Stay well, Jeanie.

Miss Val's Creations said...

Into The Woods was a fantastic movie. It must be fun to see on stage! Beautiful wooded photos Jeanie. We are starting to see plexiglass going up at the post office and grocery stores to protect the workers which is brilliant. It must be scary for those essential businesses going to work everyday interacting with hundreds of people. I hope everyone is staying home too so we can stop this and start to move up hill which will be a long hike.

Shelia said...

Hi, my friend! Oh, what lovely photos in this post! No, I haven't seen that movie. We are trying to watch a movie each night instead of the news - which will get you down fast. I hope you're staying safe.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

The French Hutch said...

Love the photos, beautiful. This is one I will add to my on list of movies to watch I have. I love when I read posts about movie to watch while in the quarantine. Thanks Jeanie for the review.......

Barb said...

Lovely wooded scenes, Jeanie. Yes, stay home, stay safe, and stay healthy. We wonder on a weekend here in CO, if people will come to the mountains (which they have been asked NOT to do). Our small mountain communities are already taxed by sick people. Meanwhile, we got a few inches of snow overnight and colder temperatures. Bob and I are waiting to see if it warms a bit before venturing our on our touring skis. You and Rick stay well!

Jenny Woolf said...

That's a great way of expressing what we have to do Jeanie - and so much better than the strident and often confusing instructions we're bombarded with. Stay home and stay well!

Monica Hein ~ Beauty Diary said...

Love how peaceful it is :)

Nikki-ann said...

I haven't seen Into the Woods, but will add it to my watchlist. Such wonderful photos!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Such a well written post and so very true.

I need orange said...

Wise words. So baffled that people have to be told to self-distance....

Sending you good vibes.

ps -- thanks for the book recommendations. I'll put several of them on hold with the library, for "some day".........

Polly said...

I haven't seen the film but I think I would enjoy it, I like Meryl Streep. Lovely photos Jeanie, especially the fungus.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Quite a comparison, Jeanie, and I too have not seen the play or the film. Most likely I will not (just being honest) That said, I found your comparison was a timely one. For the most part, people seem to be in compliance here as seen in our outings. And to help them, the stores and even the post office have put take on the floor to signify where people should be standing. It seems to be working.

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Fabulous post, Jeanie. The Into The Woods analogy is spot on. Yes, it takes a global village to contain this monster. I wish that everyone understood how important social distancing is. Be safe and stay healthy!

Victoria Zigler said...

I liked "In To The Woods" but didn't love it as much as you clearly did. I do love this post though... Well said!

Sami said...

Haven't seen this movie. Beautiful photos Jeanie and yes, we will beat this virus and hopefully the world will be a better place!

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

I have’t seen the movie but it sounds intriguing! We’re doing our part and staying home.. Thankfully spring is emerging and I have been able to get outside and do a little fussing around. Praying that we flatten this curve very soon!

Kitty said...

Thank you for another wonderful post Jeanie. Your comments are right-on, and together we will get through this blight on our lives. God bless you, Rick and all in the world. It just occurred to me, perhaps this Ovid-19 will calm some of the terrorists in out world. Love you

Linda said...

Great post and lovely pictures Jeanie. Stay well💜

Friko said...

An excellent post which will help to lift spirits and give hope to many of us who may be flagging.
Every word you say is true. we can beat the giant if we all work together and stay out of harm’s way.

Good luck.

Prims By The Water said...

Words of wisdom. We all must stay at home. We need to beat this current giant. Janice

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

AH, the Joplin tornado hit close to home, since I lived in a Joplin suburb before moving to Wichita. I had MORE people calling after that event than call me today, when we are in lockdown. I am so pleased with this post. You have been succinct and to the point. This IS a giant, or in mathematical terms, a Black Swan. Wonderful photos, too.

BTW, I've been knocked offline again due to my internet provider. I can take the stay at home orders, just not NOT being connected to the internet.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Thank you, Jeanie, for a beautifully photographed and written gift to us all -- a reminder of the crisis we've endured and our current, unprecedented challenge.

anno said...

Beautiful pictures, Jeanie. Thanks for this moment of "ahh...." (awe?) in my day!

Lowcarb team member said...

Such a lovely blog post …
Your photographs and words a joy to read …

We all need to do our bit!
Stay safe and well.

All the best Jan

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I will have to try to watch this sometime. I didn’t know much about it but it does sound very applicable to what we are going through right now!

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