115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Zorro Rides Again in Time and Space: Stops in France and in Japan

Alice Defacq, Independent Scholar

This presentation explores the place in the world of the musical of the libretto, a fluid document that is subject to change to please the audience of the host country. We will examine the librettos of Zorro (2008) as altered for Paris in 2009 and for Tokyo in 2011.


Based on the assumption that the revival is a rewriting exercise whose main purpose is to adapt a specific musical libretto to the host country, this paper will focus on three aspects found in two versions of Zorro, written by Stephen Clark, in English, between 2009 and 2011. The musical originally opened in 2008 at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne, England before being produced abroad in more than twelve different countries. Although the eponymous title remained unchanged, the dialog and the songs were nonetheless subject to change. The aim of this paper is to discuss and underline the fact that the libretto Zorro is an unfixed document which implies the endless adaptations of the script to preserve the story of the caped crusader. To do so, we will do a comparative analysis of two of the many versions of the libretto: the one written for Paris, France, in 2009, and the one for Tokyo, Japan, in 2011. Three aspects will be examined: the division of the libretto as a whole, the relationship between Diego and Ramon who are the protagonist and the antagonist of the story, and the code mixing, namely the interaction between English and Spanish in the librettos. Such aspects, it will be seen, demonstrate that the adaptation is the constant improvement of the original text. All these changes contribute to pleasing the audience of the host country.

Topic Area: