Lars and the Real Girl, in Ballet: Coppélia

Have any of you seen Lars and the Real Girl?

I loved this little movie. While the trailer renders the plot just a tad too jokey, the story itself is about so much more than a guy who starts a relationship with a blow-up doll. In fact, it’s mostly about the ability of a small town to care for its eccentrics, and also, it’s about how Ryan Gosling chooses roles well. That’s an entirely different post, but in case Robert Pattinson just so happens to be reading – take note, my young grasshopper.

Lars and the Real Girl is what I thought about while watching Coppélia last night at The Long Center, the very first time I’ve ever watched Ballet Austin do their thing. Actually, let me revise that statement a bit: I had NO IDEA what was going in Coppélia last night, until I snuck off to the bathroom and Googled it on my iPhone. Until then, I thought it was a nineteenth century dance-off. With a man dressed as a pirate (because why not?) and a graceful, yet undeniably pissed, lead female.

But as it turns out, the lead female – Swanhilda – has good reason to be pissed. The village’s bumbling mad scientist (i.e., Man Dressed Up as Pirate) has invented a gorgeous, life-like doll. And Swanhilda’s dullard fiance starts hitting on it. As in, sneaking into the scientist’s workshop in the middle of the night to hang out. You can see why she’s frustrated.

Swanhilda is a feisty girl though, the village beauty, but a doormat she is not. So when she finds out about all this, she is like “HELL NAW” and devises a plan to catch her fiance in his folly. Speaking of, have I told you her fiance’s name yet? It is Franz. I know. He never stood a chance in the brains department.

Anyway, despite my initial confusion I felt very cultured and happy at the ballet last night. Cultured because this is only the second time in my life I’ve ever attended a ballet; happy because it reminded me of going to Symphony Square (on Red River, right next to Serrano’s) with my kindergarten class and my dad when I was a little girl. There used to be goofy little shows performed in the small limestone amphitheater there. Do they still do that?

I also learned that Coppélia is one of the rare ballet comedies, which is why it’s a fun one for kids. There were tons of little girls there last night, and during intermission they were playing on that light-up platform in front of the Long Center’s piazza.

Is it weird that I stood there, taking pictures of other people’s children?

Answer: Yes. Very weird. But they’re so adorable!

Going to the ballet here in Austin was something new for me (gratzi mille, Wyatt Brand), and while my own palate for these kinds of things is woefully stunted, I really did enjoy a change of scenery from the usual Red River / east side scene on a Friday night. Oh don’t get me wrong – those are my people – but Austin has so much of everything and I want to run around and try it all, you know?

Even if I have to Google ballets in the bathroom.

Two more parting shots of my pretty city:

Love you, Austin.