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The Comedy of Marriage
Posted May 17, 2010 to photo album "The Comedy of Marriage"
In anticipation of the release of Lisa Cholodenko’s comedy The Kids Are All Right, FilmInFocus’ Peter Bowen and Nick Dawson look at works across multiple mediums that also poke fun at the institution of marriage.
Slide 12: La Cage aux Folles (1973)
Jean Poiret’s French farce (that premiered at Paris’ Théâtre du Palais-Royal in 1973 and ran for nearly 1800 performances) took the basic concept of the Romeo and Juliet tragedy and flipped it around to make it a comedy. Rather than focus on the star-crossed lovers whose warring families have condemned them to death, Poiret’s comedy focuses on the pairs of parents, whose needs to either control or comfort their children set them up for comic ridicule. Simone’s parents, a politically and morally conservative pair, insist on meeting the parents of their daughter’s betrothed, Laurent. The problem is that Laurent was raised by a gay nightclub-owning dad and his flamboyant drag queen lover, an unconventional pair whose love for their son will push them to any extreme, even appearing to be straight, to insure his happiness. Somehow this convoluting plot proved a surefire recipe for commercial success, as the play was transformed first into a 1978 film French film (with two sequels), a 1983 Broadway musical (which has gone through several revivals), and finally a 1996 Hollywood film, The Birdcage, with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.