You Shall Rise Above

by Kiko Matsing

Those elements [Julie Taymor’s signature pageantry, puppetry and culture high and low] were certainly in abundance in the “Spider-Man” I saw several months ago. That production, which featured a script by Ms. Taymor and Glen Berger, placed its young superhero in a broader meta-context of Greek mythology and American Pop art, with a “geek chorus” of commentators and a classical goddess named Arachne as the morally ambiguous mentor of Spidey and his awkward alter ego, Peter Parker.

…Ms. Carpio’s Arachne (now a beneficent fairy godmother rather than an erotically troubling dream spider) provides the most arresting vocal moments with her ululating nasality.

(from NY Times)

It’s a pity the new version scaled down the bold, mythic elements of Julie Taymor’s original vision of the show. It would have been interesting to see Arachne as a more sexually charged (and potentially devouring) mother-goddess to Peter Parker’s callow epicene. It was perhaps a prudent choice in the end. More than the psychopathic Green Goblin (in the same camp as the trickster, Joker), Arachne would have been a true horror to the show’s core audience of pre-teen boys.