Saturday, August 07, 2004

How can ye have any pudding if ye don't eat yer meat?!

Oh, boy. Via John Scalzi I see that Roger Waters, once of Pink Floyd fame (and, in my view, the dominant creative force behind Floyd, whose efforts after Waters's departure are really unimpressive), is adapting The Wall for Broadway.

I don't know what to think about this. On the one hand, hey, I'm sure someone once thought something along the lines of "An entire show drawn from T.S. Eliots Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats?! That'll never work!", so there's no a priori reason why a show based on The Wall can't work. But just the same, I can't see how the, shall we say, psychedelic qualities of the album and the film can really be captured on Broadway.

I mean, look at this quote by Waters:

"Great!" said Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters in a statement Thursday. "Now I can write in some laughs, notable by their absence in the movie."

Maybe he's just joking here, but on the off chance that he's serious, well -- the last thing that The Wall needs is laughs. For my money, the only emotional response to The Wall involves sitting back, going all slack-jawed, and saying "Du-uuude!" a lot. (Where the hell would Waters inject some yuks, anyway? Before or after the sequence when the schoolkids are fed into the meat-grinder? Or maybe the sequence when Pink shaves every single hair off his body?)

Which brings me to my real objection. The Wall seems to me to pretty much require an "altered consciousness" upon viewing. Now, I've never sampled marijuana (and I've never even come close to dropping acid), so I don't know, but I have it on good authority that the film The Wall is quite the experience when one is stoned. I have, though, seen it several times while "three sheets to the wind", so to speak (it was college; what did you think I was doing on Saturday nights at three a.m.?), and when I finally watched it again while sober years later, it just wasn't the same. Those incredibly funky animations are merely intriguing when you're sober, but when you're drunk -- well, let's just say that after a sufficient number of beers, all those marching hammers and copulating flowers take on an iconic status that I don't think will translate easily to the staid Broadway stage.

Of course, a Broadway version of The Wall might just constitute a new reason to push for legalizing pot. Now we can say, "Legalize it for art!"

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