In 1975, Christopher Bond, a British playwright, dramatically changed the import of the character, Sweeney. It is difficult for Bond to condemn Sweeney outright. Any one, facing such grim experiences, would become cynical. He has well-defined motivations and strong reasons for his crimes. Destiny is cruel on him, and he wishes to pay back in the same coin. His thirst for revenge on the Judge and the society that will not stand by him is understandable. His wife is forcibly taken away from him (later presumably dead), and daughter is kept in illegal private detention by the upholder of justice.
He is too weak to confront and challenge the powerful chair of the judge, because he was the chair less power. (An ordinary individual) When Mrs. Lovett relates the plight of his wife Lucy, Todd cries out, “Will no one have mercy on her? Then I will have no mercy either. None” (Bond, 1974, p, 4) Sweeney curses the humanity, and the entire human race is ignoble, according to the convictions formed in him. He decides to wipe out this evil race in a style perfected by him with impunity. Significance of this theatrical production in American culture:
The materialistic civilization and the industrial and internet evolutions have deeply impacted the world civilization and it has thrown unimaginable challenges to the American culture. The greed and the thirst must succeed, no matter at what cost– have become inseparable parts of American life. Sweeney’s philosophy of life when he returns to London after spending 15 years of tortuous life behind the bars, on framed charges, is somewhat similar. He wishes to restart his life from the scratch not only from the economic point of view, but on all the counts.
He has a great debt to pay to the ignoble humanity and he pays it in the worst possible manner. The subtle duplicity of the present American business environment is evident in the business deal of Sweeny Todd and Mrs. Lovett’s dastardly deals. The play is a good social commentary, as to how the man loses character for his sense gratification and will not hesitate to trample the essential dignity of the poor and the helpless, including women and children. So the affected individual will strike so hard, whenever one gets the opportunity, so that there is no need to strike again.
The latest American blitz as for Sweeney Todd is described thus in The Guardian “But two years ago, Doyle’s pared-down, psychologically acute revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd made the astonishing leap from the 200-seat Watermill Theatre in Newbury to Broadway. US critics and audiences, accustomed to the usual Broadway razzmatazz, could not quite believe their eyes and ears when they encountered Doyle’s bleached-out, almost Brechtian production with its vivid splashes of blood. ” (Gardner, 2008) Though many criticize it as the act of cultural vandalism, Doyle is credited as the man who changes the face of American musical.
For budgetary considerations, he engages actors who can sing and play the instruments. The expensive orchestra is dispensed with. It creates the unexpected psychological impact as the involvement of the actors is compelling and the involvement of the audience with the actors is more compelling. The net effect is the drama turns out to be more brilliant. Conclusion: Music is divine; it is the mystical power! But what happens when Satan also employs music to promote his negative tendencies? See this play and you will find the answer.
In the pain-producing capacity of the musical notes, is hidden the latent strength of the musical opera! They touch one’s nerves and rake the brain. To what an extent a man seized with personal revenge can go! At times, the audience is unable arrive at a conclusion whether to love Sweeney Todd or hate him! His wretched actions seem to have a profound reason behind them, and it is not easy to condemn his personality. An utterly defeated and humiliated individual is trying to salvage his life in the light of the truth he sees and reacting to the wicked ways of the world as one should!
Page Monsters At Play: Sweeney Todd Review Sweeney Todd was the “hero” of a play by George Dibdin Pitt called The String of Pearls, which Pitt adapted from his own novel. Article by: Tera Kirk, Junior Staff Writer. www. monstersatplay. com/review/dvd/s/sweeneytodd. php – 28k -Retrieved on June 30, 2008 Haining, Peter. Sweeney Todd: the Real Story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Barnes and Nobles, 1993. Page: 34 Sweeney Todd … commentary on the times in which Sweeney Todd was written. …
That’s what the play’s about to him; Sweeney Todd is a product of that age. Notes by: Larry A. Brown. larryavisbrown. homestead. com/files/sondheim/sweeneytodd. htm –Retrieved on June 30, 2008 Bond, Christopher. Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Samuel French, 1974. P, 4). Gardener, Lyn talks to director John Doyle | Theatre story … the Guardian, 24 Jan 2008 … Andrew Lycett explains the significance of a newly published Dylan. arts. guardian. co. uk/theatre/drama/story/0,,2245887,00. html – 52k ,Retrieved on June 30, 2008