Sleeping Beauty | Matthew Bourne

Gothic Retelling

This ballet was a Gothic adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, that entered into a supernatural world and distinctly left the Disney one. I was unaware of this change in the story, so the Vampires instead of fairies, rose instead of thorn and introduction of a modern day setting, startled me somewhat. Yet, it weirdly worked.
  • The dancers were great actors, with a gripping good vs evil vampire storyline and a feisty Aurora who didn’t fall in love with a prince (yipee)
  • The set and costumers were grand, gothic and magical.
  • The world class dancing provided a tantalising mix of styles, pace and energy.

To be honest, the whole performance was incredible as is all of Matthew Bourne’s work. But, no matter how interesting I may have found it, my Disney hard-wired brain has ultimately decided you can’t beat the classic.

My lesson learned from poor Aurora: You have to go through a lot of crap before you get your happy ever after.

My Sleeping Beauty Script

It’s midnight and a young couple sit on the edge of a wall. The wall has colourful graffiti on the brick, it is surrounded by cigarette butts and supports a half empty bottle of cider. The boy wears a large black coat and sports long black hair that is gelled to his forehead. The girl is weighed down by heavy doc martins and is guarded by a long blue fringe. 
In front of them, hiding past jagged vines, two grand yet rusty gates lock away a story. Through those vines, behind that gate and past dozens of giant trees, moonlight clips the pointy top of a tower that is breaking free, almost gasping for air, for life.This is the story. 
The boy is gazing up to the tower. The girl swigging a bottle of cider.
Boy: There’s a young girl up there.
Girl passes the cider to Boy. He doesn’t notice so Girl shrugs her shoulders and takes another swig.
Boy: She’s been asleep for a hundred years.
Girl nonchalantly looks over to the tower and rolls her eyes.
Boy: She was cursed by an evil vampire as a child.
The girl turns her head sharply to Boy and smirks.
Boy: As she grew older, she grew bolder and grew even more beautiful.
Girl slumps backwards suddenly uninterested. 
Boy: She fell in love.
Girl takes her phone out of her pocket and the screen lights up her face of boredom. Boy looks back up to the tower with anger.
Boy: At 21, the prick of a rose unleashed the curse put upon her at birth.
Girl starts silently tapping her phone with one hand and takes a swig of the cider using the other.
Boy: A curse of infinite slumber.
Girl sniggers but continues to look at her phone.
Girl: Doesn’t sound much of a curse to me.
Boy looks over to Girl with hate and snarls slightly showing two very white teeth on each side. Girl doesn’t notice. He breathes slowly and looks back to the tower.
Boy: One hundred years has now passed and the vampire who unleashed the curse still watches over her silent death.
Girls phone begins to ring. She rushes to answer it. The boys eyes explore the vines and gates, not hearing this disruption. 
Girl: Gem. Hiiiya. Why are you ringing this late? What? No way, I’ll defo come straight round.
Boy: The boy she feel in love with still waits to this day outside the tower.
Girl puts her hand to the speaker and jumps off the wall.
Girl: Sorry, I’ve got to go.
She points to the phone.
Girl: It’s Gem, she’s erm… she… her dads just stormed out or something. I gotta go. Sorry…
Girl rushes off. Boy briefly watches her exit but returns his gaze quickly to the tower. 
Boy: And I wait. For my chance to save her from her slumber and kill the evil guarding her inside.
Boy leans back knocking the cider bottle and its contents onto the floor. He opens his mouth wide to reveal two sharp fangs and his eyes shine bright silver in the moonlight as he continues to search for a route through, until for the first time in a century, he sees movement by the gates...

*The script is not an excerpt from a scene in the performance. I wrote it using the storyline simply as inspiration.


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