Into the Woods
A Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical
Fairytales, including this one, are rollicking good fun. But fairytales are not simply flights of a fanciful imagination. According to writers like Bruno Bettelheim (child psychologist and author of The Uses of Enchantment) and Walter Wangerin (Lutheran pastor, professor of English at Valparaiso University, and author of The Book of the Dun Cow, The Book of God), fairy tales help adults and children find their own identites, their inner resources, and their dreams for themselves in this world.
A recurring setting for the problems and quests of fairytale characters is the woods. Sondheim and Lapine use that setting and the characters of the childless baker and his wife to weave together the stories of Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack. In Act I they make wishes and go into the woods to make them come true. But in Act II, as the woods beckon these characters back for more, they realize that these are increasingly dangerous woods. Should they have stayed home, or do they actually belong here?
At this college, we encourage ourselves to "step into the larger world." Isn't that world these woods?