Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Mikado

New resolution: Attend more student theater productions on campus.

I was inspired this evening by the Yale Gilbert and Sullivan Society's rendition of The Mikado, "a satire of English aristocracy set in feudal Japan." As the Yale G&S Society's website explains, the comic opera "tells the story of a lovelorn prince disguised as a commoner, an innocent schoolgirl, a hapless Lord High Executioner, and a pompous Lord High Everything Else."
"Since its 1885 premiere, Sir William Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan’s most popular operetta has been performed throughout the world, translated into several languages, and has been referenced and often satirized in motion pictures, stage plays, and even television shows...Even though The Mikado takes place in Japan, not England, the story is classic G&S. Nanki-Poo has fallen in love with the beautiful Yum-Yum. She’s engaged to her guardian, Ko-Ko the tailor. But Ko-Ko has been condemned to death for flirting (a capital crime in the city of Titipu). He’s granted a reprieve and appointed to the post of Lord High Executioner. Because Ko-Ko was next in line for execution, he can’t cut off anyone else’s head until he cuts off his own! But the Mikado decrees that if no executions take place within one month, Titipu will be reduced from being a city to a mere village." (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
The Yale G&S Society cast - HI KEVIN!

As the Yale Daily News review notes:
The shows’ blessings go beyond its visual aspect. The script’s original humor is augmented by Yale-specific lyrics, written by Sam Kaufman-Martin ’14 and Austin Kase ’11. Both Ko-Ko and the Mikado list those annoying individuals who deserve a good beheading, poking fun not only at modern celebrities like Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black, but also denouncing Yale stereotypes like overzealous DSers, narcissistic theater majors and girls a little too obsessed with James Franco, lending The Mikado a relatable air despite its foreign context and implausible storylines.