Sunday, 22 April 2012

Twas brillig and the slithy toves - adapted with love

A couple of weeks ago, I had a bit of a rant about film-makers not respecting the original text when they adapted literary works, with a particular emphasis on Tim Burton's adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

I'm pleased to say that today I'm able to offer a completely opposite perspective. And once again, good old Lewis Carroll is the case in question.

This week, at work, I found myself looking through YouTube clips.

Sounds pretty fun? Not a bad job to spend hours looking through material on YouTube? 

I'd have to agree. I'm enjoying my work at the moment. But it's for a good cause. Working in online education, YouTube is a real treasure trove of material to present to students to illustrate all sorts of concepts in all sorts of ways.

Anyway, the subject for which I was searching related to language, and I thought that something great to show to students, to illustrate the dynamic nature of the words we use, was a reading of the classic poem Jabberwocky. So I did a search, and this is the first thing I found:

 

Straight away, I knew I'd hit pay dirt. Lewis Carroll meets the Muppets. What better combination could there possibly be. Two of my absolute favourites and strongest inspirations coming together. Anyone who has read my stories knows the debt I owe to Caroll (or should I say, Dodgson), while I've blogged previously about the brilliance of the Muppets.

So mission accomplished - I had found the perfect clip for the students. Of course, at home, I had to share it with my kids. But then I took a closer look at it, and especially at the characters. They looked strangely familiar.

There was only one thing to do. I found my old dog-eared copy of the book and opened it to the chapter where Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice what the opening words of the poem actually mean. And there they were. Exactly the same characters as you will see in the clip:
  • The toves are the strange snouted creatures - a cross between a badger, a lizard and a corkscrew (genius!)
  • The boregroves are the long-legged birds that look a little like live mops
  • The raths are the green pigs (Humpty Dumpty wasn't sure what mome meant)
So there you have it. You can actually see the care that the Muppets people took in creating their little skit, studying the text and creating a version which, while it has its own unique Muppetty qualities, is also true to the original poem. Just one more reason to love the Muppets.

Anyway, that's enough from me for now. Hope you all have a totally frabjous week.

Callooh! Callay!!
 

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