Tragic movie character interpreted with dance

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Tragic movie character interpreted with dance


The British choreographer of the sold-out production of “Swan Lake” that toured Korea in 2003 and 2005 is returning to Seoul with his latest creation, “Edward Scissorhands,” a new stage adaptation of Tim Burton’s film. Matthew Bourne gained world-renown after his innovative “Swan Lake,” in which male dancers play the swans, first opened in 1995.
Like traditional ballets, “Edward Scissorhands” has neither dialogue nor songs, but isn’t considered a pure “ballet” but rather a “dance musical.” In the show, Edward, who has scissors instead of hands, visits a fairytale village where oddly-shaped hedges dance around him.
Bourne said, in a phone interview with the JoongAng Daily, that he didn’t think of making a dance musical when he first saw the “Edward Scissorhands” movie, even though he thought it was a “very unique, strange, weird, wonderful film.” Then, while brainstorming to find an idea for a new production, the film came to mind. It took another eight years, however, until his concept was realized.
The touching and amusing story, lovely message, dynamic design and the music of the film were very attractive, Bourne said. He particularly liked the music. “The music was theatrical and danceable,” he continued, “The scores got stuck in my mind.”
“The scissors can mean everything,” said Bourne. “[The character] could represent anyone who is different,” he said, adding that “In everyone’s life, there’s a time that one becomes different.” He admitted that when he was young, he was quite different from other kids.
The story of the dance musical version of “Edward Scissorhands” is a little different from that of the film. The peaceful hedge sculptures Edward shaped in the film are now the dancing hedges of the musical. Bourne said that he tried to show things that the film couldn’t do on the screen but that were possible to do on the dance stage. Audience members in the front rows on the first floor would have snow fall on them, the show’s ticket sites warn.
Bourne said that Sam Archer and Richard Winsor, the dancers who share the role of Edward, are very different Edwards, but have a great partnership and learn from each other.
“[Archer] is quirky and humorous. He’s much closer to Edward in terms of that he’s not outgoing, and very quiet and shy,” Bourne said, while “[Winsor] is more emotional.”
The scissors aren’t real, because they must be light enough to wear for nearly two hours onstage. They also won’t cut but can still hurt if they hit anyone. The dancers had to wear goggles during rehearsals in order to prevent their eyes being damaged, Bourne said. “When dancing, particularly when the [character’s] arms are stretched, people need to get out of the way.”
Bourne said that, in the future, he wants to make a silent film. He said that he found he could express himself best without words.
“I want to explore how far I can go without saying a word. Without words, it’s universal and more emotional. That really appeals to me and I want to keep exploring it,” he said.

by Park Sung-ha

“Edward Scissorhands” runs at the LG Arts Center from Wednesday to July 30. Shows will start at 8 p.m. on weekdays, and at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekends. There will be no show on Mondays, and an additional show is scheduled at 3 p.m. on July 20. Tickets cost from 40,000 won ($42) to 100,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114 or visit
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