Prior to beginning reading, I attempted to flip to the last page to see how many pages there were and landed, instead, on a page near the end on which a naked woman unzips her skin to reveal a man underneath. After the initial feeling of shock subsided, I got to wanting to read it that much more. Jim Henson wrote this? Based on that quick teaser, I was expecting easily his most adult (which is to say, graphic) output yet; however, unfortunately, outside of that page, Tale of Sand has nothing more risque than The Dark Crystal.
That doesn’t mean it’s not an outlier for Henson, much like The Dark Crystalwas, when you consider what his body of work mainly consisted of (i.e., children’s programs). You have to laugh at Henson thinking someone was going to invest in this screenplay; there’s barely enough material there for a short film, and it would require an extensive budget to fully realize, meaning anyone who bought it would be almost certain to take a loss on it. Moreover, where’s the audience? I’m sure Henson fans would be intrigued, but who else would want to watch what plays out like a story set entirely within a dream and written through some form of word association.
Anytime it starts to return to some type of normalcy, he mixes it up with what was probably the most out-there and unexpected change of pace he could think up at that point in time. This is moderately amusing, but it left me asking myself at the end what the takeaway was supposed to be. I got hints of a deeper meaning, yet I can’t even hazard a guess at what it might be. Perhaps it’s just an exercise in frivolity, meant merely to amuse, not to be taken seriously and picked apart. I had hoped the discussion that was included of the screenplay would reveal which it was, though I had no such luck.
If you want to see Henson as you never saw him before, read Tale of Sand. But if you’re not a fan, or that doesn’t necessarily pique your interest, you wouldn’t be missing out on much if you were to just skip it.