WASHINGTON • Early on in Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical, the story’s narrator swiftly strikes to deal with the elephant within the theatre.
“Are they legally allowed to be doing this?” she asks. “The answer is: probably.”
That fourth wall-breaking gag units the stage for the totally non-canonical satire to come.
So does the truth that the narrator is a personality named Rory Gilmore, an absurdist reference to The Handmaid’s Tale actress Alexis Bledel’s breakout function on Gilmore Girls (2000 to 2007).
New York comediennes Marcia Belsky and Melissa Stokoski co-created Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical, a parody of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel and the hit Hulu sequence adaptation.
After a half-dozen performances unfold out over the previous yr, the minimalist manufacturing headed to Washington, DC for a pair of reveals final Saturday on the Kennedy Centre as a part of the annual Bentzen Ball comedy pageant.
Belsky inhabits the protagonist Offred (performed by Elisabeth Moss within the Hulu present), whereas Stokoski takes on the Rory Gilmore character.
The thought for the manufacturing took root a yr in the past, when the buddies found themselves watching The Handmaid’s Tale and have been so overwhelmed by the present’s bleakness that they may solely cope by poking enjoyable at it.
“We started laughing about how everything has become a musical, basically – how they made Spider-Man into a musical, SpongeBob and all of this stuff – and how it would be funny if someone did Handmaid’s Tale as a musical because it was so dark,” Belsky says.
“We just started joking about that and then it kind of came together.”
While the supply materials imagines a dystopian future wherein fertile girls are enslaved as child-rearing “handmaids”, this model centres on the decidedly much less excessive story of millennials in 2028 Brooklyn whose lives are upended when they’re compelled to – gasp – hand over their cellphones.
In Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Offred is a mom brutally separated from her husband and daughter. Here, she is a cliched musical theatre heroine who relocates to New York to fulfil her dream of turning into a barista.
“I thought it would be funny to write a show where it doesn’t undermine the message of the seriousness of the handmaid story, but it also pokes fun at what the spoilt, entitled people of my generation might act like in those situations,” Belsky says.
Belsky and Stokoski wrote the guide and lyrics for Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical in two months earlier than debuting the present in January, with composer Fernanda Douglas placing collectively the musical preparations.
As far because the co-creators are involved, the present is protected by fair-use regulation relating to parodies, although they have by no means heard from anybody related to The Handmaid’s Tale.
As a politically well timed parody – the complicit and sadistic Aunt Lydia is, for instance, reimagined as Aunt Betsy DeVos – Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical has been up to date with every iteration to replicate the news cycle.
Ms Betsy DeVos is the present United States Secretary of Education.
After final weekend, Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical will probably be staged not less than yet another time, at subsequent month’s New York Comedy Festival.
The inventive crew additionally hopes to file a forged album with the ensemble and an off-Broadway run just isn’t off the desk ought to traders emerge.