One Minute World Arts- Oklahoma! Revival: Dark, and Daring

It is said that without Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II the musical theatre wouldn’t have existed. That shows how influential the golden pair were on the development of musicals. Oklahoma!, the first musical created by the two masters, is one of the most iconic musicals in the history of musical theatre. The romance between Curly, an upright cowboy, and Laurey, his belle, in the story captures a classic kind of “American-ness” that has fascinated musical lovers over several generations. However, in Daniel Fish’s revived version of the musical, the joyful atmosphere that has long been accepted as a proper tradition to stage Oklahoma! with is now subverted. By breaking the musical apart and putting it back together as something thrillingly dark and ingeniously new, Fish has managed to show the audience an invigorating take on Rodger and Hammerstein’s classic. In this production, almost every element is designed with a twisted touch for the audience to feel slightly awkward or sometimes unsettled. The lighting, originally supposed to generate a sunny, cheerful feeling, is on full glare to create a deadly bare, bright stage that symbolizes the inescapable, “nowhere to hide” scenarios the characters would need to face. Meanwhile, the main characters, instead of looking pleasant, appear to be negging, cynical, and busy dealing with their desires, doubts, and negative emotions.


Fish’s Oklahoma! won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. In April 2022, it traveled to the Young Vic Theatre in London, scoring a box office success. Now, with all the acclaims received, the show is set to be staged at the Wyndham’s Theatre, West End in February 2023 to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the much loved musical.




有人說,若是沒有理查.羅傑斯(Richard Rodgers)與奧斯卡.漢默斯坦二世(Oscar Hammerstein II)這對黃金組合的話,世上就不會有音樂劇;由此可見,兩人對音樂劇的影響之深非比尋常。而《奧克拉荷馬!》正是兩位大師聯手完成的第一部作品,也是音樂劇史上最具標竿性的傑作之一。正直的陽光牛仔克里(Curly)與美麗的女孩若蕊(Laurey)間那份愉悅浪漫的愛情,乃是《奧克拉荷馬!》劇中廣為人知的經典美國情懷。但在丹尼爾.費許(Daniel Fish)執導的現代版裡,他選擇不去複製本劇歡樂美好的傳統,反而跳脫框架,將故事解構,以直搗人心黑暗面的觀點和手法,來重新詮釋這齣名作。此版《奧克拉荷馬!》將劇中的各個環節,都刻意設計得有點扭曲,營造出迥異於以往的深沈窘迫之感;而燈光設計則把原本和煦的陽光推到極致,藉由炙亮逼人的光線,為角色提供赤裸露骨、無可遁逃的舞台。此外,主要角色們也不走大家習以為常的可親路線,改以最真實、憤世的樣貌,來呈現其內心的情慾、猜忌和負面情緒。


由費許所執導的《奧克拉荷馬!》,不僅贏得2019年東尼獎最佳復刻音樂劇獎,接著更於今年4月抵達倫敦的楊維克劇院(Young Vic Theatre)演出,票房告捷,並預計在明年2月登上倫敦西區溫德漢劇院(Wyndham’s Theatre)的舞台,做為慶賀該劇80週年的獻禮。



Photo Credit ©Marc Brenner