I was on the subway the other day and saw a young woman reading The Fountainhead. I had to ask her, "Why? Why are you reading The Fountainhead?" And she said, "Because it's a classic and I'm trying to read all the classics." I sat down, silenced.
But it's not, I thought. It's garbage.
What does this have to do with the women of Storybook Burlesque? Nothing really. Other than the fact that, in a world where poorly written screeds about crude, reductive political philosophies are considered classics by some, it is refreshing to see an irreverent take on literature and mythology. Nothing's sacred anymore, right? So you might as well have some fun.
Storybook Burlesque takes classic tales, from sources as varied as the Bible, Dr. Seuss, and Roald Dahl, and re-tells them using burlesque as a medium. The subject of their latest show is Greek Mythology and the ladies will be adapting myths ranging from the stories of Medusa and Persephone to the legend of Icarus. The women re-conceived these stories to fit the medium, in a form that one of the dancers, Lefty Lucy, calls "neo-burlesque, very story driven, performance narratives."
What does this all mean? It means that these adaptations might not be totally source-driven, but no one will really care what the jumping-off point is once the ladies start to weave their tales, and strip their clothes.
Lefty Lucy also told me that Coney Island is the perfect place for the troupe to perform because "so many of the myths are tied up with the sea and three of our girls are in the running to be Miss Coney Island this year."
And if some people are offended by the way that Storybook Burlesque strips to classic tales? That's their problem. There are a million other things to be offended about. Like all the people who consider Ayn Rand a valid author.
Storybook Burlesque at Coney Island USA [1208 Surf Ave. near W 12th Street in Coney Island, (718) 372—5159, www.coneyisland.com]. Aug. 31, 10 pm. $15.
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