What is Pippin about, anyway?

With the first two words of the show, the Leading Player shatters the “4th Wall” (the convention of separation between performers and audience), telling the audience to “join us” on a journey that is sure to entertain and impress. A traveling circus troupe, led by the cunning and talented Leading Player, regularly puts on an exciting show for the most deserving of audiences, filled with all the elements of a truly remarkable and intriguing performance: comedy, war, murder and deceit, love and romance, and a Finale so spectacular that it is to be remembered through the ages. 

And who is the subject who encounters all of these fantastic elements? Enter Pippin, the unassuming prince who, fresh out of university with little to no passion or direction in life, is searching for a life of meaning and fulfillment…his very own “Corner of the Sky.” 

Pippin, is so desperate to find his meaning in life that he’s willing to try everything he possibly can, even if it means risking his life in battle, feeling the emptiness of, well, as Grandma Berthe would call it, “frolicking”, and committing acts of treason. Constantly overwhelmed and then immediately let down by each experience, he is persistent in his search for true meaning and fulfillment in life. The Leading Player is always strategically present to lead him from one adventure to the next, promising the audience to eventually lead Pippin to a grand finale in order to provide them with the greatest act to ever be performed. 

In Act II, after continual let downs and failures from these more “exciting” endeavors, Pippin is introduced to Catherine, an “Ordinary Woman” who runs a farm and a large estate. In this romantic comedy section of the show, the daily routine on the farm is a far cry from the violence, salaciousness, and deceit of Act I, and Pippin quickly gets fed up with this new lifestyle that falls short of his “Extraordinary” standards. However, ordinary life does have its charms, and his forward-moving quest for meaning is suddenly halted as he is anchored by emotional ties.  

In a moment of desperation, having tried everything he possible could and left alone and lost, Pippin once again encounters the Leading Player and the Troupe who lead him to the one final act that will ensure complete fulfillment and meaning in his life: The Finale. At Pippin’s most vulnerable and desperate point, our hero is forced to make the ultimate choice between fulfilling his dreams of the past and choosing a new different kind of path. The Leading Player, is wholly invested in delivering to the audience the act they came to see. But at this point, who is the audience rooting for ? What do we want for the once unassuming, now developed hero? What is the perfect finale? To fully understand the stakes you will have to “join us”. 

Through the use of symbolism, “illusion,” and “fantasy to study”, the line between fiction and reality is blurred, and our previous understandings of the show, and our relation to it are suddenly altered.   

Starcatcher’s production of “Pippin” occurring on the heels of Purim is providential not only because of their shared circus motifs and the idea that the real can rest within the costume, but they also both question how much control we have over our own lives and how much we may be only puppets in someone’s scheme. 

Pippin will be performing in Jerusalem for 7 shows between March 7-22. To be bedazzled, bewitched, and beguiled…and left wanting more get your ticket at https://www.eventer.co.il/user/pippin