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Theater! - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Theater!
I've seen lots of stuff recently. And kelkyag mentioned I should review at least Ears on a Beatle so here's that and more. :)

Company at the BCA, in their spiffy new theater.
I'm very familiar with the music, as tirinian has the CD, but I'd never seen it before. I think I liked it better than the CD as standalone music - you can get a feeling for who these people whose names get mentioned in the Litany of Women are. All the acting was strong, and the singing was good, except for some too-quiet bits at the beginning. (I spent some of the second act trying to decide if it was miked. I couldn't see any microphones, and the sound was always localized to where the singer was, but there were a few songs where there would be a drop in the register, and the tone would change from "projecting" to "softer", but it wouldn't be any softer at all. Maybe it was just really good vocal control.)

But the message bugs me. I'm not really sure why - I wasn't bugged nearly as much by Spitfire Grill and "Small towns are better than cities", which tirinian didn't like (mostly because I didn't believe that was The Message per se). Sure, I believe in marriage, and I want "someone you have to let in, someone whose feelings you spare, someone who, like it or not will want you to share" in my life, even the "someone to hold you too close" parts too. And I've almost never been single. But I don't think that the people I know who are single are social failures. I don't believe in "You don't have a single reason not to be married", which is where the second act is going. I think Bobby's life (hanging out with his friends, taking their kids to the zoo, helping with the dishes after dinner, pretty much sought-after by all parties) could be a fine life to be living. I guess it's that the Company themes seem close enough to truth that they resonate with me, which means that they rattle me more. Compare that with, say, Sweeney Todd, where I don't really believe any of the themes, so I don't think about it too hard.

Also, as an aside - I liked the lighting. I've started to notice I have strong opinions about lighting - I like spotlights that are soft-edged and cover the whole person. Hard-edged small spotlights like in Evita leave me noticing the spotlight too much - when you are constantly aware of exactly where the light is because it's leaving a big bright demarcation line halfway down the actor's waist, that's too intrusive for me.

Ears on a Beatle, at the Lyric.
Enh. Decent actors, unexciting script. If the entirety of the play is going to be two people just talking to each other with not much plot, I want the dialogue to sparkle more. If it's funny, I want it to be witty and clever. If it's dramatic, I want it to be deep or poetic. The only place where it came alive at all was when one of the agents was describing where he had been for the last three hours, and what had happened - okay, it was a monologue, but it was one of the only places where something was happening, even if only in retrospective monologue.

Iolanthe, MIT Gilbert & Sullivan
Fun. Pretty much everyone was audible. Several nice accents even when singing. The COOLEST SET CHANGE EVER! Well, okay, I've seen more impressive set changes for professional theater, when they have things going up and down into the rafters, but this was definitely the coolest college production set change. With big sticks.

I couldn't shake the image that the fairies (who kept gently flapping their arms and hands) were treading water instead of flying, but it was well worth it for the punch line at the end when all the peers turn into fairies and start doing the same thing.

The orchestra was very good, too. Which still means that I could hear glitches, but not nearly as many as I'm used to. Amateur orchestras tend to catch my ear a lot more than amateur choruses do; I think it's because mistakes in singing tend to make it blurry, whereas mistakes by wind instruments make it more jagged. And jagged is more immediately noticable than blurry. (Or is it just me, because I listen more carefully to wind instruments than I do to singers?)

Speaking of blurry... you will all recall my woes of program-making. The second weekend, Copytech printed the programs instead of me - and they somehow converted all the non-PS graphics to 72dpi things! The sketches, most of the ads - all blotchy and ugly, and the white had stopped being white, but were that jpeggy grey-ripples-around-the-dark-bits off-white background instead. Sigh. I do find it proper that the thing that caused to be most illegible was the URL in the Copytech ad. (Those of you who went to the second weekend and thought "Gosh, the programs are blurry" - I didn't give them blurry programs! Copytech went and blurred them all on their own initiative.

Hero: Not as pretty as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon but still had some lovely bits (the falling silk in the palace, the battle in the falling leaves. Hmm. Maybe I like falling things.). I liked the changing story. I didn't think the calligraphy looked particularly artistic, it seemed very basic. Like a helvetica version of the character. Does anyone who has any actual knowledge of Chinese calligraphy and saw the movie have an opinion?"

Team America: World Police: Well, probably more crass than South Park, but still awfully funny. The songs weren't as brilliant as South Park, but still pretty good. A guilty pleasure.

The Incredibles: Incredible. :) You all know this, I don't have to say anything more.

I Heart Huckabees: The only one of the lot not about powerful heroes. Both funnier and less funny than I thought it would be. Is it cool to like Mark Wahlberg yet?

Current Mood: sick headachey
Current Music: Anastasia

3 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
jencallisto From: jencallisto Date: November 23rd, 2004 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
i think it's been cool to like Mark Wahlberg for awhile now. since Boogie Nights, i'd guess.

as for the Chinese calligraphy, there are many many styles. i don't know a lot about all the different styles, but i learned a little bit in high school and they had us start with a very clear, blocky style to really understand the shape of the strokes and the extremely important and subtly difficult proportions. i don't remember feeling either way about the calligraphy in the movie, but it's been awhile since i saw the movie, and it was on a small screen so the details weren't all that clear. i suspect they deliberately chose an easy-to-read style so that watchers of the movie could read the text.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 23rd, 2004 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Company

I agree: the message of Company that resonates with me is not "You don't have a single reason not to get married," but rather "You've got to want *somebody*, not just some-body." But the script abandons the latter for the former, I think mostly because they didn't know how to end the darned thing after several re-writes. :)

You don't get married by yourself.
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: November 24th, 2004 08:34 am (UTC) (Link)

What was crass about it?

America! Fuck Yeah! Coming again to save the motherfucking day! America! Fuck Yeah!

Everyone has AIDS, AIDS, AIDS AIDS AIDS, AIDS, AIDS, AIDS, AIDS! Everyone has AIDS!
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