The Blue Bird (play)

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The Blue Bird
Coonen Chalutina Blue Bird Maeterlinck 2.jpg
Mytyl (Alisa Koonen) and Tyltyl (Sofya Halyutina) in the MAT's 1908 production
Written by Maurice Maeterlinck
Date premiered 30 September 1908 (1908-09-30)

The Blue Bird (French: L'Oiseau bleu) is a 1908 play by Belgian playwright and poet Maurice Maeterlinck. It premiered on 30 September 1908 at Constantin Stanislavski's Moscow Art Theatre and has been turned into several films and a TV series. The French composer Albert Wolff wrote an opera (first performed at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1919) based on Maeterlinck's original play, and Maeterlinck's innamorata Georgette Leblanc produced a novelization.

The story is about a girl called Mytyl and her brother Tyltyl seeking happiness, represented by The Blue Bird of Happiness, aided by the good fairy Bérylune.

Maeterlinck also wrote a relatively little known sequel to The Blue Bird, entitled The Betrothal; or, The Blue Bird Chooses.

Story[edit]

In the opening scene, the two children gleefully describe the beautiful decorations and rich desserts that they see in the house of a wealthy family nearby. When Bérylune says that it is wrong for the rich not to share their cakes with Tyltyl and Mytyl, the boy corrects her. It is enough that he gets to watch others’ happiness; their joy does not create envy in him. The theme is emphasized again when the children meet the Luxuries, particularly the biggest one of all, the Luxury of Being Rich. When Tyltyl turns the diamond, the hall is bathed with a dazzling brightness, and the Luxuries run wildly in search of a dark corner where they may hide their ugliness from the ethereal light. The names of such Happinesses as Innocent Thoughts and Seeing the Stars Rise and of such Joys as Being Good and Maternal Love affirm Maurice Maeterlinck’s view that true happiness lies in simple things, particularly in the warmth of family love.

At the end of the play, Tyltyl shows what he has learned about happiness. He looks out the window at the forest and remarks how beautiful it is. The inside of the house looks much lovelier to him than it did before. Also, he creates great happiness for another by giving his pet bird, which seems much bluer than before, to the sick child.[1]

Adaptations[edit]

Ziegfeld girl and dancer Doris Eaton Travis appeared in an early stage version with her sisters}

Novelization[edit]

  • Maeterlinck, Maurice; Leblanc, Georgette (1914). Frederick Orville Perkins, ed. The Blue Bird for Children. Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, translator. Silver, Burdette and Company. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 

Film[edit]

Television[edit]

Radio[edit]

Opera[edit]

Mentions in other works[edit]

RahXephon
Blue birds appear as symbols and one of the characters is named "Michiru", which is the Japanese name for Mytyl.
Eureka Seven
Three of the characters were named after the author's name, his surname being divided: Maurice, the eldest of Eureka's children; Maeter, the second oldest; and Linck, the youngest. The book itself also appears briefly in the series being read by one of the characters.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Kyon seemingly randomly asks Haruhi if she has read The Bluebird of Happiness. This initially appears to be a random reference, however it has since been noted that the Land of Memory, the Palace of Night and the Kingdom of the Future which appear in L'Oiseau bleu may each correspond to one of Haruhi's three unusual companions (the aliens, the espers, and the time travellers, respectively.) This is also a reference as to how what Haruhi is searching for (aliens, time travelers, espers, or anything out of the ordinary) is around her every day. In the manga, Kyon comments on it as a "children's book". He refers to his "Bluebird of Happiness" on several occasions later in the novel.
Ballet Shoes
In the novel Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild and the television adaptations of it, Pauline and Petrova Fossil play Tyltyl and Mytyl in their ballet academy's production of "The Blue Bird".
K-PAX
Prot helps one of the patients by assigning him three tasks, the first of which is to find the Bluebird of Happiness.
L'Oiseau bleu/Aoi Tori
Japanese TV drama from 1997 telling a "tale of tragic love between Yoshimori, a station employee at a quiet, rural station, and Kahori, the wife of the heir to a family fortune." Kahori's daughter Shiori is reading "L'Oiseau bleu" as a child and the story is cited several times during the 11 episodes.
Yellow Submarine
At the end of the movie, the Chief Blue Meanie says that "My cousin is the 'Bluebird of Happiness'". It also shows bluebirds on his head when he says this.
Birds in the Future
In this manga by Osamu Tezuka, one chapter is directly inspired by the play.
Jean Libon, Belgian painter 
He uses to call one of his exposition "L'oiseau bleu". Until this day, "L'oiseau bleu" is the symbol of his work, full of mystic and magic.
Pokémon
In Try for the Family Stone!, 616th episode of the anime featured in the twelfth season, two siblings called Ltyl and Mytyl (in the Japanese version) search for a Dusk Stone in order to evolve a Murkrow. The Pokémon Swablu and Altaria are also references to the titular bird, and were named "Tylt" and "Tyltalis" respectively in Japanese.
Bakemonogatari
In Nisio Osin's light novel, Kizumonogatari, Tsukihi Araragi asks her older brother Koyomi Araragi the question, "Where did Tyltyl and Mytyl find the Blue bird?". In Nekomonogatari (White) Tsubasa Tiger, the character Hanekawa Tsubasa mentions The Blue Bird in her soliloquy, about how one should find a Blue Bird if they don't have a home. She also ponders the possibility that just as the Blue Bird may be in someone's home, so, too, could the beast of misfortune lurk there.
Umineko no Naku Koro ni
In Chapter 4 of the VN, Maria uses the tale of Tyltyl and Mytyl to explain why Ange can only see sadness in Maria's memories when she herself believed she was having a good time and likens the bluebird to happy Fragments.
Wandering Son
The chapter 96 is titled "Tyltyl and Mytyl", which is also a multiple pun: the Japanese title (Chiruchiru Michiru) can also be translated as "From the Very Bottom to the Top"; also, the japanerse book's title translation is "Aoi Tori", which is a reference to Aoi Hana, another Takako Shimura's work, and Wandering Son's main character, Shuichi NiTORI
Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward
One of the characters wears a pendant resembling a blue bird in a cage. In one of the game's scenes, she talks about the pendant's meaning to her, and its relation to Maeterlinck's The Blue Bird.
Herowarz

Tyltyl is among the reimagined characters present in Fable Town, here being a morbid undertaker who's the widower, rather than the sibling, of Mytyl -- his grief and resentment over her death and the other residents' unwillingness to help out of fear of contagion led him to become the Headhunter "Death," killing some of the residents and cursing most of the remainder with chronic illness.

Sakura Wars
The Hana-gumi perform the Blue Bird on stage in the game Sakura Wars 2 with Iris playing the role of Mytyl, and Reni playing the role of Tyltyl. This is also the focus of an episode in the second OVA series, and one of the Sakura Taisen live Kayo show musicals.

Other references[edit]

The Dutch school types Mytyl schools and Tyltyl schools are named after Mytyl and Tyltyl: they are for children with a physical disability and for children with both a physical and mental disability, respectively. The Scouting Nederland section for children with special needs (Extension Scouting) is named: "Blauwe Vogels" (Blue Birds).

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of "Maurice Maeterlinck's greatest contemporary success The Blue Bird", as it was termed, his play was selected as the main motif of a high-value collectors' coin: the Belgian 50 euro Maurice Maeterlinck commemorative coin, minted in 2008.

External links[edit]

References[edit]