Whimsy, Whoomsy, and My Depression Icon, Eeyore; Happy Long Weekend!

"People say nothing is impossible. But I do nothing everyday."

A new trailer for the upcoming live action Winnie the Pooh remake, Christopher Robin, dropped this morning, and we got our first look at the ensemble of beloved Hundred Acre Wood characters, looking less cartoonish in this new environment and more like the stuffed animals that inspired them in the first place.

 A scene from a 2006 staging of Winnie the Pooh by KickstArts in South Africa. Photo by Val Adamson

A scene from a 2006 staging of Winnie the Pooh by KickstArts in South Africa. Photo by Val Adamson

Being such a popular character, everybody’s favorite silly old bear (as well as his plushy fluffy friends) has been adapted from the original stories to a lot of different mediums, probably most famously its television run (which includes my favorite Winnie the Pooh moment of all time; more on that later). But Pooh’s also had a chance on the stage, with many children’s theatres mounting their own whimsical retellings of the classic tales. For me, children’s theatre is always really neat to watch, because 1. When it’s adaptations like this, I love to see the creative ways that these rich, imaginative worlds are brought to life on stage, and 2. You gotta keep kids entertained, so the design is often a lot more colorful and flamboyant, which gives you such dazzingly fun displays as the rhyme-happy fantasy world of Seussical, one of the first musicals I ever saw when my brother plated Horton the Elephant at a theatre camp.

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 A staging of  Seussical  at the Lucille Lortel Theatre; photos by Joan Marcus

A staging of Seussical at the Lucille Lortel Theatre; photos by Joan Marcus

Plus, you can enjoy it knowing that’s it’s engaging a brand new generation in the exciting world of elaborate sets, spontaneous musical numbers, and live performance. Sure, does some the superficial jazz lose its glisten when you’re watching Death of a Salesman instead of Aladdin? Of course. But just like G-rated movies, or, you know, liquid food — you gotta lay the groundwork. Plus, even if your kid never grows out of needing colorful singing puppets, there’s always Avenue Q.

 Rabbit & Tigger, presumably singing "If You Were Gay"

Rabbit & Tigger, presumably singing "If You Were Gay"

This is a short blog. The well of nostalgia in my honey-hungry belly upon seeing this new trailer just inspired me, and I thought I’d indulge myself a little.

There’s an episode in one of the older Winnie the Pooh cartoons where all the animal friends in the Hundred Acre Wood see Eeyore sitting by himself on top of a hill. They feel bad that’s he up there, lonely and sad, so they spend the day trying various misguided exploits to cheer him up, and kooky hijinks ensue. But in the end, we find out that Eeyore just likes to watch the colors in the sky— the hill isn’t a gloomy place; it’s a beautiful one.

  "Donkey for a Day"

"Donkey for a Day"

...If Eeyore isn’t an outcast & underdog, and if a depressed stuffed animal finding beauty in solitude isn’t a unique story told from an unexpected perspective, then show me out. Yes, I KNOW I’ve already pitched the Ratatouille adaptation to Azuka, and YES, they rejected it, but I really believe in this one. Eeyore is my wholesome mental illness icon and not to get dramatic over a fictional children's book character I would literally die for him.

 "Oh, that's okay. Wouldn't want you to go outta your way. I'm not all that worth it anyway."

"Oh, that's okay. Wouldn't want you to go outta your way. I'm not all that worth it anyway."

Enjoy your long weekend, Azuka family! I’ll see you next week.

Best,

Lucas