Sunday, February 7, 2016

Different Medium, Same Great Story

Another one of my home library collection (of course), but with a twist - this one comes with a play review! (Aren't you lucky? :)) So some months ago, I saw advertisements by the train station for the off-Broadway show... Daddy Long Legs. Now if you think I was going to miss seeing that, I don't know why you're reading this blog. I've watched the Fred Astaire movie more than once and that one doesn't come *close* to being an accurate depiction of this beloved book.  I've looked for the silent version with Mary Pickford but wasn't able to find it (I should look again, that was a while ago).  And I've read the hard-to-find, not as good, sequel as well. So yeah, this is a book I go the extra mile for :) And I read the NY Times review, which was quite positive (the complaint was the story doesn't translate well for the modern ear, but since my ear is very old-fashioned, that's not a problem :)) So anyway, I knew I had to see it. Couldn't generate much interest from my cl girls, so I went with Dov's family, who are always up for a show. Well they all enjoyed it, and I LOVED it. I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. Like, really. I know the book really well and the script followed it quite accurately (left out parts, but most of the lines were close to verbatim, and the plot followed basically exactly I think). So it was one of my favorite books, brought to life in a very-well done way, and on top of that... POV! POV! POV! While the letters are all written by Jerusha (of course), here we see Jervie's reaction... and his gradual fall in love with the writer.  And it's sooo well done. There's an aspect of guilt Jervis felt that I didn't really think of when I read the book, but it's quite plausible.  And his wry reading of the letters (mostly verbatim from the book) adds to the humor and whimsy of the writing.  The growing romance was nicely emphasized. And the finale gloriously angsty and satisfying in the end.

So of course I had to reread the book... and here I ran into the same problems as my last read - overfamiliarity + spoiled by explicit romance. The play followed the book so closely that I felt like I had just read the book, so lots of the great lines and romance didn't hold enough surprise for me. And though I am usual satisfied with imagining Jervis's POV as he reads the letters, having just seen it laid out in front of me made me miss it. So while I loved the book as always, I can't say I enjoyed it the more for having just watched it (this is in contrast to say, Persuasion, where watching the movie just made me appreciate the book all the more. I'd say this is a testament to how excellently done the play was).

To top it off, Huvi wanted to see the play too... so I went back again. I was certainly concerned I wouldn't enjoy it as much the second time around, and it did take me longer to get into it... but amazingly enough, I loved it the second time around  as well, at least by the end.

Daddy Long Legs is an incredible book and the play did an incredible job translating it.  Bravo all around, and I can't wait till the play has receded a little in my mind so that I can reread the book again :)

Verdict: 5/5

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