A Lacanian perspective on selections from into the woods
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This thesis examines selections from Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods. It begins with an investigation of meaning (both musical and not) and Lacanian psychoanalysis, before moving on to analyses of four songs from the musical: “I Know Things Now”; “Any Moment (Part I)”; “Any Moment (Part II)”; and “Moments in the Woods.” In each of these analyses, this thesis brings musical theater to the interpretive process by continually zooming in; it begins with the drama and moves to the lyrics, providing a clear picture of the narrative to interpret from a Lacanian perspective. It then, as its goal, turns to the music to find this Lacanian narrative reflected in the music. The analysis of “I Know Things Now” explores the concept of the Lacanian symptom, and the effect that a symptom has on the subject. The analysis of the remaining three songs treats them as a group, analyzing a secondary story arch between two characters. The analysis of the trio of songs explores the Lacanian concept of the objet petit a and the associated circuit of desire, and how each of the two characters in the trio interacts with these concepts.
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