It’s a good thing I saw The Lion King when I did. Because just one day later, President Bush, in his State of the Union address, called for the elimination of the Lion King. More than that, he called for the elimination of “human-animal hybrids”. And no, I have no idea what he’s talking about either. But if anyone is producing Dr. Moreau style crimes against nature, it’s those crazed imagineers at Disney. They must be stopped at all costs!
During the brief passage on bioethics, when George Bush called for legislation banning the creation of “human-animal hybrids.” In Washington, there is a lobby for everything except apparently mermaids and centaurs.
Last Wednesday, I went to see The Lion King, as presented by the American Musical Theatre of San Jose. Since I’m one of the 3 people in North America that has never seen the original Disney animated feature, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. All I knew was that Elton John had written a song about a farting warthog.
Turns out, it was pretty entertaining. But I kept feeling that I had missed out by not seeing the film. It seemed that many of the scenes sketched or summarized an action sequence from the movie. “What are they doing here? Oh, maybe reminding us of a scene from the film.”
But the songs were good, and well sung by the cast. And the costumes were great. I had expected a bunch of actors dancing around in cat suits, like … well, in “Cats”. Instead, they were all well and truly human actors, who carried carved lion masks like aboriginal dancers. Occasionally, an actor would take his mask, to assume a more “human” role, or lower the mask to hide his face to act more feline.
Other character costumes even more imaginative – a combination of puppetry and disguise. I was amazed that the actors could sing, dance, and work their puppets simultaneously without skipping a beat. And an actor and his puppet might have very different postures and expressions. You could look from one to the other to see both reactions to a scene.
The costumes seemed appropriate. After all, the animals in Disney movies really talk and act like humans most of the time. They only wear their animal form. But they occasionally revert back to their animal nature, as if a puppet momentarily escapes from the grasp of its puppeteer.