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Julie Taymor Talks About The Struggle With Spiderman

by Melissa Silverstein
March 3, 2011 5:01 AM
6 Comments
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Julie Taymor has been in NY working non-stop on trying to get the Spiderman Musical to a place where it can finally open. The knives have been out for some time for many reasons. One, this is the biggest show ever. Two, it just keeps previewing and charging people full price even though it is a work in progress. Three, she's messing with the status quo of how things are supposed to go.

This clearly is taking its toll on her and on her team. How difficult is it to work at this frenetic pace for months. It is hard for directors in general but they usually see the end of the line once their show opens and then they go off and take a vacation and work on something else. Taymor has been going and going for months and months. I don't even know how she puts one foot in front of the other anymore. No matter what happens on this, she is a lesson in leadership and perseverance.

She took a moment and spoke to the TED 2011 conference in CA yesterday on her experience.

Here are some of her quotes:

Anyone who creates knows — when it’s not quite there...where it hasn’t quite become the phoenix or the burnt char. And I am right there.

It’s right there in the palm of my hands...In all of my company’s hands. I have beautiful collaborators. We as collaborators only get there all together. I know you understand that. You stay there going forward and you see this extraordinary thing right in front of your eyes.

You must be true to what you believe as an artist all the way through but you almost have to be aware that the audience is out there in our lives at this time and they also need the light. And it’s this incredible balance that I think we walk when we are breaking ground, that’s trying to do something that you’ve never seen before, that the imaginary worlds, where you actually don’t know where you are going to end up. That’s the fine line at the edge of the crater as I have done my whole life.


She is breaking ground, she is pushing the envelope. I am excited to see where she will take this show and the theatre world.

Taymor Feeling the Heat Over ‘Spider-Man’ (NY Times)

Julie Taymor Directs the Most Expensive Musical in Broadway History

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6 Comments

  • Linn D. | March 6, 2011 9:58 AMReply

    Feds Fine 'Spider-Man - Broadway' Production Company For Cast Injuries

    NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued 8 Legged Productions LLC, the production company for the Broadway stage production of "Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark," three serious violations of workplace safety standards following four separate incidents late last year that resulted in injuries to cast members of the musical.

    Rest of article at:
    http://www.deadline.com/2011/03/feds-fine-spider-man-broadway-production-company-for-cast-injuries/#more-111466

  • Richard | March 5, 2011 12:32 AMReply

    Okay, Linn D.
    Why don't you run on down to the theater and arrest Taymor?
    And while you're there, tell the crew and cast, who are being paid over one million american dollars a week, that they're out of work, collateral damage, because you're 'sick to your stomach' and so very very offended.
    And btw, those who were injured are being well taken care of.
    You know not what you speak of.
    The craziness around the show is epic.
    Although, if I had been doing nothing but reading one frenzied foaming analysis after another for months, I would perhaps believe the echo chamber about the evil wicked horrible mean shameful nasty rotten taymor
    If conditions were so horrendous, do you not think Equity would have stepped in? That the actors and crew would have walked? Gone on strike?
    Crew and performers are not moronic sheep or dazed helpless children
    They are pro's

  • Linn D. | March 4, 2011 9:49 AMReply

    @Richard: Hello. I'd be curious to see which inaccuracies you feel I've included, if you have time to respond. I'm not trying to pick a fight, I'd very much like to know what facts I'm missing for this situation... I'm going to attempt to paste in some links that provide facts for what I'm concerned about. One is a rather dramatic response from fellow Broadway actors, which I recognize comes from a very emotional place. Another link is an article documenting that Cirque Du Soleil has helped provide the acrobatic aspects for Spiderman. And third is a link to the Cirque's website where they explain the training involved with being hired by their company. If you're refering to Equity's health insurance coverage, I'd be happy to paste info for that here, since that may not be public knowledge. Thanks.

    http://www.movieline.com/2010/12/broadway-stars-not-very-pleased-with-julie-taymors-steaming-pile-of-actor-crippling-sht.php

    http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1654807/spiderman-not-first-broadway-musical-plagued-by-injuries.jhtml

    http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/jobs/casting/how-to-join/step3.aspx

  • Richard | March 4, 2011 7:55 AMReply

    my email was a response to Linn D. rant.
    certainly not a comment on Melissa's column which was terrific and informative

  • richard | March 4, 2011 7:53 AMReply

    Whoa.
    This is so out of control.
    Riddled with inaccuracies.
    Reminds me of the demonization of Hillary Clinton when she ran for president.

  • Linn D. | March 3, 2011 7:39 AMReply

    I have to be honest, while I admire Ms. Taymor's previous works and talent, she is ENDANGERING PEOPLE'S LIVES this time for her artistic vision. And that is where I personally draw the line.

    Instead of hiring Cirque du Soleil trained performers, who because they've trained their entire lives for the required acrobatic work and thus are very expensive, the producers hired dancers - at a much cheaper rate - and are literally going through them like kleenex.

    It takes years to learn to do the tricks they are attempting, and the dancers they've hired did not get years of training, only months. And the consequences have started to show in the various injuries, both the big ones we've heard about and the small ones that happen every day that we don't hear about, but will affect those dancers for the rest of their lives. Unless Ms. Taymor is personally guaranteeing unlimited health insurance for the rest of their lives I think she is being incredibly irresponsible.

    Currently Actors' Equity Association can only afford to provide health insurance while you're working and for a short period of time after that. If you don't book another job performing, you lose your insurance or have to pay massive premiums on your own. And I'm willing to bet that additional long term injuries will show up after the dancers leave the show. Yes, there is also workers' comp insurance, but from what I've witnessed, that is NOT luxury health care by any means. Especially for a dancer, who needs their body to be in the best possible shape on a daily basis.

    I'm sorry, but this entire show makes me sick to my stomache. You cannot perform these difficult acrobatic tricks 8 shows a week without some serious repercussions if you hire non-trained people and push them out on stage before they're ready. She should be ashamed of herself. But instead, she's treating human beings as disposable props like her puppets or masks. In my opinion, unacceptable.

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