This play is awesome, and everyone should see it. The movie is less awesome, due to studio interference, but will make pictures considerably easier to come by for me. Both involve human-eating plants from outer space. That’s about all I can say before one of these:
Okay. It’s a tragedy, one of my favorites. At least, the stage version without the forced happy ending is.
For those who don’t know, here’s how it goes:
Seymour is an awkward, insecure orphan who’s been raised and used as unpaid help all his life by the owner of a struggling florist shop. He’s good with plants, and through some convoluted circumstances, he acquires a specimen never before seen (on earth), names it Audrey II after a coworker he has a crush on, and figures out how to keep it alive.
Then Seymour’s boss finds out and tries to blackmail him. Oh well, he was a terrible guardian anyway.
Then we get one of my favorite hero/villain confrontations of all time. At least, in the play we do.
Seymour takes the cleaver to Audrey II, realizes he can’t make a dent in the tough outer husk, and jumps in its mouth to hack it apart from the inside. There’s a tense silence… and then Audrey II swallows and spits the cleaver out.
In some ways, there’s an almost Frankenstein’s monster quality to the relationship between Seymour and Audrey II as well. Audrey II wouldn’t be alive without Seymour. He could destroy it at any time while it’s little, but he figures out how to keep it alive for the sake of his ambitions, and everything it does is ultimately his fault.
Audrey II does everything it can to keep him dependent, to keep him from noticing that the human Audrey loved him before he was a success, that he’s smart enough to get a better job, that he could make a life for himself without cheating if only he thought so himself.
They’re as close as parts of one psyche. Audrey II is the devil on Seymour’s shoulder, the self-doubt necessary to cause the snowballing, it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time tragic series of events. It’s the worst part of him, and in the end, in the most literal way, it consumes him.
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