Episode 2.1: Into the Woods

Happy full moon, witches! And welcome to season two!

That’s right. Our whole coven is back to discuss the 2014 film adaptation of the Sondheim musical Into the Woods. The perfect way to kick off a month with a blue moon!

The first full moon in March is called the Sap Moon or Worm Moon. Other names include the Moon of Winds, the Death Moon, the Chaste Moon, the Fish Moon, the Sleepy Moon, and the Big Famine Moon.

CW: sexual assault, #MeToo, Larry Nassar, Johnny Depp, infidelity, infertility. See the listening guide below for which sections to skip.

Our theme song is “Moon and Spruce” by Sarah Littledrum.

Here’s a listening guide for the episode. (For a description of our segments, go here.)

Introduction (0:00 – 3:15)

Which Craft? (3:30 – 17:10)

  • Adaptation: differences between the stage version and screen version
  • Circular narrative and the four central characters
  • Effect of using and changing familiar stories (and returning to the darker roots of fairy tales)
  • Meryl Streep’s performance
  • Conveying theme through lighting, music, and special effects
  • The baker and his wife as everyman characters

“Are You a Bald Head or a Queer Nose?”: Representation + Bodies (17:40 – 1:05:45)

  • The baker and toxic masculinity/ social pressures (+ the importance of having a supportive community in order to change cycles of abuse/ destructive behaviors/ demands of cisheteronormativity)
  • So many dead mothers (separation of child and parent as central theme)
  • Women in diverse stages of life–but no women of color 😦
  • Sexual violence: Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Larry Nassar, #MeToo, empowering victims of assault (31:14 – 40:26)
  • Jack’s sexual awakening and the princes’ focus on sexual conquest (40:26 – 42:45)
  • The baker’s wife: punishing women for infidelity (43:20 – 49:46) 
  • The witch’s body: can beauty and power co-exist? + healing from assault (49:52 – 55:35)
  • Infertility as a curse (55:41 – 59:49)
  • Blindness, disability, and magical princess tears

“Round about the Treguna”: Nature + Spirituality (1:06:06 – 1:22:46)

  • The woods as a psychological, transformative space/ journey
  • Getting what you wish for/ the magic of normalcy
  • Liminal spaces, bridging life and death
  • The spell and its ingredients (transmuted by the cow)
  • The witch’s garden and magic beans

Final Spells (1:23:13 – 1:28:20)

  • Typecast Lucy Punch and other versions of Cinderella
  • Other movies/ plays with similar musical themes
  • Learning from and improving on our parents’ example

Related Links

Liz Gilbert on The School of Greatness

Blooper Reel (1:29:16 – 1:30:06)

A sort-of photo of the four of us, together again:

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 7.33.15 PM

Claire and Jenny’s tablet-laptop contraption:

IMG_2840

Katie’s blue hair:

 

 

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