The Playgoer: Franzen-Awakening Fracas

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Franzen-Awakening Fracas

Speaking of NY Post's Page Six, looks like yesterday they ran their own item on the skewering critique Jonathan Franzen offers in his forthcoming translation of Spring Awakening of the current musical's interpretation, first reported and quoted right here at length last Thursday.

I guess the Post, like me, probably got their own advance copy of the book last week. Otherwise, I wonder where they got the quotes from...

I have also noticed on my hit-count stats a lot of visits from a site called "The Guilty Ones" ("A Spring Awakening Community"). Welcome Duncan Sheik fanclubs!

If the Broadway team hadn't heard from either site, they got the news from the Post when asked for a comment:

The Broadway producers and Sheik declined to comment for Page Six. But an insider at the show ripped into Franzen's blast as flagrantly hypocritical:

"He's simply doing a translation. Why does he then have to criticize our play? He probably wouldn't have even had the opportunity to do the translation if it hadn't been for the great success of the show."

Well, maybe a point there about the musical creating new interest in the play--and new published versions. But conveniently ignores Franzen's clear "restorative" intent in doing the translation in the first place. If someone wanted to just cash in on the musical, they'd dig up some old sanitized public domain edition, instead of commissioning a prominent successful novelist.

PS. Just to make this not just a "what's up with Jonathen Franzen" issue, I want to point to again the fine dissent by Shawn-Marie Garrett earlier this year in HOTReview, referred to us by a Commenter.

Addendum: Looking more closely at the Post piece, I see that not all the Franzen quotes appeared on Playgoer. (I elipsed around some of those.) And I have no doubt the Post wouldn't print anything from a book on hearsay and only after getting their hands on a three-dimensional copy.

Also, about that last "response" quote, note that it's attributed to "an insider at the show" but after establishing that neither Duncan Sheik nor any producer would comment. Who does that leave? Steven Sater is mentioned further up in the item, and then not ruled out. Or, Michael Mayer, anyone?



Hi Playgoer!

So, I suppose I'm the one responsible for TGOs (The Guilty Ones) coming onto that entry...

I'd read your entry the other day about Franzen's translation of the play, and attempted to comment (I'd had, like, a WHOLE THESIS in the comment box too), but blogger was being stupid for some reason that day.

Anyway, I'd wanted to know what the other fans thought of Franzen's view of the musical, so I linked the entry.

I hope you don't mind, I thought it was quite interesting.

Playgoer said...

The more the merrier, Avant! Indeed, thank you for linking. Happy to welcome comments both pro and con. Let the debate begin...


Good to hear it was okay with you. I'll probably post my thoughts on the subject on my blog, so I'll keep you posted.