Charlie and Algernon review
Charlie and AlgernonReview - Broadway musicalCharlie is the name of the main character, who suffers from dementia from the birth, resulting in an extreme lack of socialization and less basic skills. He does not even have the instinct of procreation. After some surgical interventions in his brain by local doctor, Charlie begins to acquire intelligence rapidly, becoming almost a genius, but after reaching at a certain stage to the maximum, he again begins to degrade and is transformed into the same undeveloped man he was before this operation.
This plot was originally developed as a short story in 1969 by writer Daniel Keyes. It is now unlikely to be determined, due to the death of the author in 2014, but the story could well be based on the novel "The Heart Of A Dog" by Mikhail Bulgakov. The latter wrote it in 1925 but it was published by famous publishing houses only in 1968 both in London and in Frankfurt. That is, a year before this story saw the world. Parallels between them are quite obvious, of which the most important is the transformation of a certain person in more intelligent due to the operation, and after – a regression to the previous stage. However, the other parallels are not so brisk, and the characters are different also, as well as their stages of development, but the main idea is quite could be encouraged by this novel.
The role of Charlie's pretty simple, but dual. First, he needs to portray convincingly the mentally underdeveloped personality, due to DNA abnormalities, and then to depict his development, which is very believably reflects his rapid gaining of mind.
In the course of the musical, as in other works – short stories, novels, movies, radio shows – also raised social issues like these: public attitude towards intellectually inferior individuals, the boundaries of love, hardness of social adaptation and soft drugs (nicotine, spirits). During the play on stage, however, the viewer not only watches certain issues, but is glad that nothing the same mentally bad happened with him or her & that (s)he is pretty developed person. Therefore, there is a barrier of pity between the protagonist and the auditorium that the spectators have for this character.
All major actors, except Michael Crawford, could not as thin show all facets of this character, as described in the book. The film of the last century with the actors, some of whom have already deceased, also haven’t win great popularity due to not transmitting the atmosphere and mental vibrations of the protagonist, who was disappointed by the cruel human world. And it's even better to be back degraded for him – in terms of a simple person – so not to accept the brutality of his environment, even if he had to give up the love. Not to say that he has sacrificed it, because he had no other choices.
In itself, the production can be called difficult, because in the book it is easier to describe the fictional world of the hero than to recreate it on stage without the risk to get involved into the center of an ethical scandal against the disadvantageous description of mentally disabled people.
Last Update:April, 06th 2016