Poor Emilia Clarke. Not only does she have to do like a HUNDRED different costume changes. She also has to:
a) Deal with those weirdo Game of Thrones fans who haven’t been to Broadway play ever (CriticKate is a GoT fan, but she’s not there for that ish… or is she???)
b) Be co-stars with a fat, ginger cat who hogs (pun intended) a bit too much spotlight and doesn’t scram when told.
c) Talk with those Old Hollywood fake British accents so that EVERY other WORD is EMphasized and it just becomes DREADful DARLing, can you STAND it? It’s like IAMbic penTAmeter gone AWRY!
d) Have a nude bath scene. This, in and of itself, is not the problem. See Point A for the problem.
Why is it the the character of Holly Golightly continues to be holed up in all these restricting representations of feminity that are only good for making Holly iconic, yet distant and undiscernable?
Yes, she’s a mystery. The play opens with the image of an African statue carved in Holly’s likeness. Or is it? (Spoiler Alert: I don’t know) It feels a bit like the ancient art slideshow from Truffaut’s Jules et Jim (greatmoviegowatch) The point in that film is that love and beauty never truly rest in reality but in ideals— in their representations. Thus Catherine (in the film) and Holly transcend their earthly realities. Their beauty, their likeness stretches back to Ancient Greece and tribal Africa. Men love them, not because of who they actually are, but because they embody an ideal, a representation of beauty. And in Holly’s case, her image continues to inspire, to confound, long after the play’s main events take place.
…kinda like what Audrey Hepburn has essentially become today. Say Breakfast at Tiffany’s and without fail, the first thing that comes to mind is an image. You know the one. I don’t even need to explain it, but I will- Audrey with the pearls and the bun and the long cigarette and that little black dress. It hovers over every discussion or viewing of the film. It overshadows any actual idea of what the film is even about. I could even go as far as to say it overshadows even any idea of Audrey Hepburn’s actual life.
And the Broadway producers evoke this very same image in their advertisements, hoping that the image of Emilia Clarke will do for the play what Audrey’s did for the film.
Starting the show with this in mind, I was hoping that the play would break the transcendental hold these images had over the story. Maybe we’d actually see the REAL Holly Golightly. Maybe we’d see behind Holly’s false exteriors, her glamorous costumes and gorgeous charms, and see something of her actual reality.
And yes, there are parts of the performance where Holly’s Hollywood-ness chips away. Her accent drops during the seldom moments she’s angry. She struggles out of a hospital like a old, broken woman towards the end. But even when facing her past mistakes, Holly’s facade never fully drops. And I wanted it to so desperately. There was plenty of opportunity for it— the preview that criticKate and I saw was close to 3 flippin’ hours long… But Holly’s true self remained a mystery, an icon. Like a sacred relic, a museum piece, that you mustn’t get too close to.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s a terrible thing to treat Holly like an icon. In fact, I think that’s the whole purpose, the essence of the play. But as an audience, we expect to see the truth of things. To glimpse behind the curtain and understand our character’s motivations, their drives, their purpose. (This would be an interesting place to put a discussion of audience expectations versus readership expectation but… you know…) So while Holly becomes a figurative AND literal work of art, a commodity of beauty, if you will, couldn’t we at least see the reality of its process? It’s one thing if the male characters glorify Holly, but should we the audience have to as well?