Stephen Dyer always wanted to be a father. In a relationship for five years, he discussed starting a family with his partner.
But Company upended this tradition, offering instead a collection of vignettes featuring marriages in different states of un happiness, seen from the perspective of a flaky year-old bachelor named Bobby. As women gained power in society and the free-love movement distinguished sexuality from marriage, questioning the institution itself became more commonplace.
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And as the decades went on, Company, which had once scandalized theatergoers, became less provocative. But the announcement that a new production of the show will reimagine Bobby as a female character makes the almost year-old musical suddenly timely again.
Her changing gender also shifts the dynamic of every other relationship in the show, challenging assumptions about power, sexuality, and the nature of marriage in the 21st century. But for Sondheim, notoriously intractable when it comes to productions of his shows, the decision to make Bobby female is entirely unprecedented. Elliott had been considering adapting the show for a while, she told the Daily Mailbut was put off by its anachronistic nature, until the producer Chris Harper suggested she reimagine Bobby as a woman.
But as a character, Bobby has been hard to pin down since his inception. This is partly deliberate: Company was created by the playwright and librettist George Furth as a series of one-act plays written as an exercise prescribed by his therapist, each intended to be performed by the actress Kim Stanley.
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So we invented the character of Bobby, the outsider in five different marriages. The freedom to go out and live!
Does a man have to be married? It was very much in the air at the time, and so the show was very edgy and threatening to its audiences, partly because of these issues, but also because it was one of the very first musicals that was set during the period it dealt with.
Titcomb's letters to young people, single and married
In the years since Company premiered, many critics, directors, and fans have deduced that Bobby is gayand that the unspoken nature of his sexuality is what contributes to his two-dimensionality as a character. Neither Sondheim nor Furth was out of the closet inbut bywhen Company was revived, they took pains to write a scene into the updated show that clarified that Bobby is straight.
This connection with contemporary theatergoers is what makes the prospect of a female Bobbie so potent.
Inas Rebecca Traister documented earlier this year in her book All the Single Ladiesunmarried women have more power and cultural impact than ever before. Infor the first time in recorded history, the percentage of married women in the U. He has depicted a sea-change in their approach to life. Popular Latest.
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