my_daroga: James T. Kirk (shatner)
I knew next to nothing going in to the University of Washington's production of Bat Boy: The Musical on Friday save that it was based on the Weekly World News story and the Oberon to my Puck (that's not figurative) had shaved his head to play the title role. I now wish I'd caught it earlier, so I could have gone back and seen it again. It had everything: "freaks," ironic musical theater tropes, real message couched in irony to salve its utter obviousness, blood, near nudity, a love story, spoilers ) and bats. [personal profile] lettered and I were aware the entire time of our own and each other's buttons being continually pressed, and it was delicious. (We are entertainment-psychic, by which I mean we can sit silently together in a theater and communicate via body language some fairly sophisticated commentary. Mr. Daroga and I have this as well, but it is a different language.)

In brief, the story follows a young man, half-human, half-bat, discovered in a cave in West Virginia by three siblings, one of whom is attacked when she offers him Fritos. Naturally he is captured and turned over to the local vet and caged, clad in a loincloth and unable to speak. He is gradually "civilized," falls in love with his protector's daughter, and longs to join the real world. Of course, the real world (or small-town W.V. anyway) is suspicious and uses "Edgar" as a scapegoat for their problems. There are whiffs of every wild boy/freak story ever, strong echoes of Joseph Merrick, slapstick humor, soap opera plot twists, and various other assaults on taste. In short, I love it.

The treatment of rural white folk is lamentable, as it entirely follows the bigoted, small-minded, ignorant stereotype. On the other hand, the preacher is one of the few who does not reject Edgar on sight, so religion is treated as something corrupted in specific practice, not absolutely. And the setting is, after all, a direct reference to the original story.

I'm not sure what else to say, other than my former castmate was AMAZING and I predict great things for him. I never really paid Bat Boy much heed, though, and I was so delighted by it I had to pass it on.

This weekend also brought me Bleacher Bums at my old theater, mostly notable because I got to see a bunch of my theater friends, and more interestingly Exit Through the Gift Shop, the Banksy film that's sort of about street art.

I don't want to give too much away, as I went in cold, but I also am not sure how to review it. I'm not sure yet how I feel about it or what I want to say. But it was interesting and a bit of a puzzle and well worth it, even if I would love to see a film about street art that went in a bit of a different direction.

In Outdoor Star Trek news... )
my_daroga: Sirius from Diana Wynne Jones' Dogsbody. Based on my dog. (dog)
On Wednesday last, [personal profile] lettered and I saw 5th Avenue Theater's production of Sunday in the Park with George by Stephen Sondheim (with Hugh Panaro, for all you Phantom fans). This was the version revived last year on Broadway (and I think before that in London) which utilized an entirely different mechanism for recreating "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" on stage.

For those of you who don't know (and are still reading), Sunday is a musical about art, legacy, relationships, and family with the painting—and the painter--at its center. Georges Seurat (in this work—I know nothing of his real life) is really only alive in his work, driving away his lover, Dot, and existing in his own little world of dots. Georges' obsession with his work, his theories of color and light and the way our eyes participate in its perception, make him a perfect vehicle for Sondheim's statement about art, critics, reputation, experimentation, creativity, and the modern art world. It also offers the staging gimmick that everyone in the play is a character from the painting, and the entire thing is realized finally in a stagewide tableau; a concept that in the second act gets another novel twist. I could go on at length about various aspects of this play, but I want to hit on a few points.
staging )
emotional impact )
Above all else, if you get a chance, I definitely recommend it.

Evita, take 3

  • Jun. 4th, 2007 at 8:28 AM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (kitty-kate)
I'm currently listening to Evita, the 2006 London Cast Recording. A being I'd never heard of, actually, until it showed up for cataloging. It's probably my familiarity with the original recording, but I'm only three tracks in and already feel a need to complain.

Now, I am ready and willing to admit that Mandy Patinkin got a bit excessive, vocally. But in 1979, he was pretty much untrained and I love his performance as Che. He's just the right amount of angry and energetic. This guy, Matt Rawle (who according to his website has been in all three Boublil & Schonberg shows) enunciates way too much. Though listening to the rest of it, that seems epidemic. Come to think of it, modern (as in, the past fifteen years or so) musical theater has over-enunciated everything to death. In my opinion. I love words, I love lyrics, but I never had trouble understanding them before; I hate hearing everything bitten off. I've noticed this live, too, which maybe makes more sense but on a record it shouldn't be necessary to spit every syllable out.

I haven't gotten to the big torch numbers, but I do like that this Eva (Elena Roger) is an Argentinian import; even though it gives her an accent no one else in the production has.

Also, according to the liner notes, "Andrew Lloyd Webber has given the orchestrations a more authentic Argentinean flavour." Which might very well be, but the first difference I've noticed is some really wanky, 80's style electric guitars. Couple that with their presence in the movie version of Phantom, I think ALW is stuck in the past as regards guitar advances.

Has anyone else listened to this? Any thoughts?

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