Julie Taymor as The Goat

In the past, I have written here in The United Stage of America about “On Not Becoming the Goat” –

The Goat is usually the least experienced person on the show in an important position and, unfortunately, that usually means the author gets the Goated label, and once you have that finger pointed at you as the root cause of all trouble, there is really no escape until the roller coaster everyone is riding slams into the concrete wall and kills everybody.

– and who would have ever thought that such a deep and magnificent talent such as Julie “I am the Lion King!” Taymor would ever, or could ever, become the goat of any production?

Alas, the goat, she is on the sad mishmash of a show, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.  Proof of her animal station appeared in a November 14, 2011 Esquire article:

Over the next few months, Taymor went silent while the new team shut down production, overhauled the story by scrapping most of Taymor’s second act, and orchestrated some damage control, mostly at Taymor’s expense. Bono told The New York Times in June that he had never loved Taymor’s version of the show. (I ask her about this, and though she declines to comment, the look on her face — annoyed and hurt — doesn’t.) According to the Times, the producers are painting her as “inefficient” and “inflexible” in her ongoing arbitration suit against them over $500,000 in royalties. And the Edge has spoken of her as being “exhausted” and “overwrought” before her firing.

That p*ssed her off. Of course she was exhausted, she says — she’d been working on the thing for nine years. “There’s no doubt by the end of February, when I felt all of this stuff happening, that I was exhausted by that, but not by the show and not by the inspiration that I was getting from the actors,” she says. “What was exhausting was the fact that the producers were absent… Those people weren’t there, so how does Bono know? I’m sorry.” Of the descriptions of her as overwrought, she says, “I think that those were important to paint a picture of a director who you needed to release in order to make this big change. I had to be characterized that way in order for something to happen.” And that she was fired for doing what she was hired to do — think big, take risks, break the rules — baffles her. “I say they asked me to get involved, they’ve seen my work” — what else did they expect?

Here’s what I wrote in Celebrity Semiotic on March 24, 2011 in my article — “Julie Taymor and the Revenge of Spider-man” –

Spider-man director Julie Taymor — she also directed “The Lion King” on Broadway — was absolutely the wrong person to direct and write the musical. Her career is based on the precipice of putting Spectacle before Plot, and she has been getting away with it for years because audiences tend to let their eyes, instead of their minds, lead them astray into feigned entertainment.

When you rearrange Aristotle and place Spectacle over plot — as Taymor did — real people get hurt, and Spider-man has a horrible reputation of putting its actors in unnecessary peril.

– it it still hard to believe that a successful talent like Julie Taymor could ever get so stilled and stung.  I suppose the middling rest of us should all take heart in knowing that if the great Julie Taymor can become the goat — so can we all.  There is no escape from ridiculousness.  There is no healing from a terrified group death blow.  There is only darkness and a bottomless pit of despair from which few goats can ever fully recover.

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