Friday, October 16, 2009

All in the Timing

So I went to see All in the Timing on October the 15th. It was a pretty funny show, very entertaining. Everyone involved in the show did an awesome job. Seeing a live theater performance is a completely different experience than watching a film. Using the performance of All in the Timing I would just love to explain the differences between the two in detail.

When viewing a play there is a strong connection between the audience and the performers, while in a movie there really isn't much of a connection at all. Watching a film is just you staring at pictures, but in a play you are observing real life, what the actors are portraying to you as their characters real life. In The Universal Language, I really had no clue what they were saying, but that didn't matter because the audience could feel their energy and understand how the actors were feeling. They sent their vibe into the audience and the audience could then interpret what exactly was going on with the actors. Also, in the scene Variations on the Death of Trotsky Ramon made very distinct connections with the audience. He winked at us and made eye connections with select members in the audience. The audience can influence a play, which is impossible to do with a movie. There were some girls sitting behind us that were commenting loudly on certain parts of the play. In the scene Sure Thing, they spoke out about the circular way the scene was going. This distracted me and my date from the actual play, we turned and looked at them. Also during the scene The Universal Language, these same girls repeated testicles after the performer had stated it. This made us laugh even more, and forced the actors to hold off on their next lines until the audience was done so we would be able to hear what they were going to say next. In a movie you don't get that kind of actor/audience connection.

In a play the audience has the freedom to choose their own focal point. In a movie, the director pretty much chooses where he wants the audience to look and puts the camera there. During the scene Words, Words, Words at a point I was watching Swift because he had caught my attention, while my boyfriend had his focus on Kafka. I guess she had eaten a banana apparently off the floor, or that's what it seemed to my boyfriend. Well because we can choose where we set our focus, I missed that part. In a movie it's pretty hard to miss most things, but in a play one has to choose their own focus point and can miss little details.

Finally, a play is so much more interactive then a movie could ever be. A play is happening right then and doesn't have the option of redoing anything like a movie can. Whatever happens, happens. During the scene Sure Thing, it sounded like something fell backstage. Also, in the scene The Philadelphia, the lights went off and we were in complete darkness for about a minute. At first the actors kept going with their lines then stopped after a line or two were spoken in darkness. If either of these things had happened during a movie they would have yelled cut and just shot it again. In a play; however, you can't just redo the whole thing. The actors must cope with whatever happens, and work around it.

As clearly shown here, there are distinct differences between watching a play and a movie. A play is a live performance where anything can happen, while in a movie the actors don't have to take the same risks as live performers do. Once again the play was awesome and everyone did an amazing job. It was totally worth the 10 bucks in gas to get there, but I'm glad I didn't have to pay for tickets though.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The American Musical

Ahh musicals, everyone loves a good musical. I have a slight background in musical theater, I was after all in a big role in a musical. Although one of my fellow classmates seems to disagree that the play I was in was acutally a musical, I believe any play with musical in it's name is more than likely a musical. Yes I was the famous skater chick number 1 in High School Musical on stage, performed at Atlantic highschool. YEAH!!! It was a really fun and yet aggrivating experience. I had a blast singing and dancing, and I was also part of the stage hand crew. That part was lame, no one was doing what they were supposed to and all the actors were all talking back stage.... so I had to be the one yelling at everyone to get them doing what they were supposed to do.... whatever.... anyway on to the blog! It's my pleasure to present to you a little bit about the American musical theater.
American musical theater can trace it's roots back to European Opera. From Opera stemmed Operetta in the 19th century. Operetta was basically Opera with a story and plot behind incorporated in. American musicals came from operetta blended with a mix of American melodrama, popular song, dance, and variety show entertainments. Recently however, the American musical has been returning toward the nonstory telling ways, more opera less dialogue (Felner and Orenstein 167-168, 170).

Let's talk about all the different components that are needed in order to produce a musical. There are many people involved in the production of a musical, like a recipie, without one component it just wouldn't be right. Some of the people involved are the composer, lyricist, choreographer, book writer, actors, light and sound operators, director, costume designers, producer, and stage hands (Bruch). Without any one of these, the musical really couldn't happen.

The Americal musical category was one of the first fields of theater to explore multiculturalism. This can be seen by looking at the African American's musicals. In the 1920's African American musicals appeared on Broadway. This was three more decades before any serious African American dramas were allowed on stage. The musical scene explored racial themes long before society as a whole was ready to confront the issues (Felner and Orenstein 170-171).

Now lets look at the American musical abroad. Broadway musicals are performed all over the world. Many cultures create their own versions of the musicals by combining the American musical texts with their own books and lyrics. What usually happens is America sends over plays to be viewed around the world and they do their little revise. Once they complete it, their revision comes back to America for our viewing pleasure (Felner and Orenstein 172, 174). Some examples of musicals that have been doing well internationally from other countries include; Notre Dame de Paris from France, Mozart! from Austria, even South Africa has some international successes such as Kat and the Kings (as seen to the right) (Musical Theatre).
Works Cited
  • Felner, Mira, and Claudia Orenstein. The World of Theatre. Boston: Pearson Education Inc., 2006. Print.
  • Wicked. 2007. Photograph. 25 Dec. 2007. Web. 15 Oct. 2009.