Many of my friends don’t like “Into the Woods” because after Act 1, it stops being fun. The musical transitions from a lighthearted send-up of fairy tale tropes into a dark examination of heavy themes, such as death, betrayal, and infidelity.
Oh, and throw in an absentee father because Stephen Sondheim had issues with his parents.
The musical used to be on Netflix, and I would watch it at least once a month, though I had to be in a special mood for it. I’d be down for Act 1 at any time, but Act 2 spoke to me when I wasn’t feeling so great. Sometimes you need to watch something sad to get all your feelings out. My friends watch “One Tree Hill” or “Grey’s Anatomy”; I watch musicals.
At this part in the musical, the Baker is at his lowest point. His wife is dead, there’s a murderous giant on the loose, he’s abandoned his son, and his crazy ghost father won’t leave him alone. He tries and fails to get a straight answer out of his dad, who only speaks in riddles. Angry and exhausted, the Baker gives up.
I know how the Baker feels. There comes a time when you feel so much you’d rather feel nothing; at that point, all you want is to be left alone, instead of dealing with more bad news, emotions, or change.
This summer has been the Summer of Doubt. Right now, I’m sick of uncertainty and my faith being stretched. I’m tired of people asking me questions about my future. I want a straight answer, too. I haven’t done much this summer and still I’m exhausted. Yet, as the Baker’s father explains, running away won’t help. “Just more questions…different kind.”
I understand why the film version cut this song…but I wish they hadn’t.
Need cheering up?
Best song in the musical. The lyrics allow me to lament my love life and laugh at the same time. The princes know what’s up.