Thought on Audrey's Death

edited July 2011 in Theater
Audrey's death, when done right, can be very depressing (in a good way). Her death in the original ending to Little Shop of Horrors was the saddest thing I'd ever seen in a movie.

That's why it pisses me off when someone tries to play her death off as a joke. Little Shop of Horrors is hilarious, but not every scene is supposed to be a laugh riot. It's supposed to have sad moments too. There's a reason Ashman went on to work on Beauty and the Beast.

Example: in a HIGH-PROFILE production I shall not name, she goes "greeeeeee-" and then falls...and then is silent for a moment before GETTING BACK UP and going "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen". Ha ha. That's actually a reused joke from Now (It's Just the Gas), where Orin gets back up after we assume he's dead. There's a strong difference in tone between that scene and this. And even in that scene it's usually played so the laughs aren't "Ha ha!" so as much as they are "Heh....heh?".


  • Ending on "Somewhere That's" was the most memorable problem in the first production, though aside from that touch they took the scene seriously.

    I agree with you, Tacowiz. I have yet to see a sadder death scene on film, stage, or writing.
  • I always loved that moment. I think the chuckle from the audience is an acknowledgment of the cleverness of the word play and a little self congratulations at knowing what is coming a split second before it comes. As with all the humor in LSOH, the actors have to let the words speak for themselves - no need to put anything more in there.
  • I think the brilliance of that scene is that its pretty ridiculous--with the way that scene was written, I think Howard intended it to be at least partially funny--but despite the ridiculousness and humor of it, the characters are written so genuinely throughout that it ends up being also quite touching.

    That being said, NOTHING in Little Shop should be "played" as a joke. The text is funny where it needs to be by itself. It needs no help, and performing it otherwise is only to the detriment of the production. If you have a copy of the acting edition of the script, read Howard's director/author note in the beginning. It's BRILLIANT and touches on this subject.
  • Well said.
  • edited July 2011
    Eh, I disagree that the scene's ridiculous. To be honest, I fundamentally enjoy Little Shop Of Horrors as a drama/tragedy, and though there are comedic elements, to me they're not the dominant aspect of the story. And Death of Audrey is, in my opinion, the most emotional scene in the entire story.
  • In a ways, I somewhat agree with both Tacowiz and loganculwell: yes it's already funny, and it's a black comedy so there should be some laughs here and there. But like any form of entertainment, the scene has to speak for itself. If there's supposed to be something funny, then let it be funny. If there's something that's dramatic--such as Audry's death--play it straight. Yeah in a ways it is pretty rediculous; but the fact that if the actors play it straight and right, making it as a tragedy rather than play up the comedy effect, then it becomes something more. It becomes a sad scene that people would connect with. It just depends really not only on the actors, but also on how the scene should be played.
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