Yearning for happiness, we live our lives idealising worthless puppets, just like the protagonists of this story. Sometimes, when we're lucky, we encounter a fairy who opens our eyes and allows us, over a series of trials, to find our mates. The story cautions us that the struggle for happiness is never useless: it teaches us to recognise the true values of the other.In his review published in Nyugat after the 1917 première of The Wooden Prince in Budapest's opera house, Aladár Bálint summarised the work's plot as follows: "The fairy-tale prince and the fairy-tale princess, the young inhabitants of two neighbouring castles, discover each other, but an alien will - the fairy - obstructs their path to unification, chasing the princess back to her castle. The prince scampers after her, but the fairy sets the dancing forest spinning in a ring around him, while the waves from the brook - composed of so many lovely girls - rise from their streambed. When the prince defeats these elements sent to oppose him, it is too late, for the princess is already sitting despondently at her spinning wheel up in the castle. She does not notice her beloved pining for her below the castle and stretching upward uselessly toward her, unable to reach her. He sticks his crown on a pole and raises it, but this is still not enough. Finally, he shaves off his hair and removes his robe, adorning the pole with these symbols of his youth and royal status. He does manage to entice the princess with these, but she misdirects her amorous glances towards the pole itself. The fairy then conjures this crown and bewigged piece of wood into a moving, dancing figure, while the abandoned prince is left alone to lament this unhappy turn of fate. The wooden puppet eventually collapses, and the two lovers sink into each other's arms, with the pole lying cast off and inert at their feet.”
In our celebrity-dominated world, this folklore-inspired story is a highly contemporary one, serving to edify both women and men, and young and old. In a slightly ‘updated' form, it would generate a huge number of shares on popular social media sites...
Sponsored by: National Cultural Fund
Presented by: National Dance Theatre
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