Thursday, October 25, 2012

(d)Rag! The good the bad and the ugly!

It is so easy to imitate instead of innovate.
 Especially in an environment where most of the more hyped up, applauded and financially successful English Theatre performances have been reproductions. Good imitation where one tries to be as close to the original theatrical performance as possible. I believe it takes a certain amount of bravado and panache to put together a completely original full length Broadway style musical production in such an environment. Kudos to everyone at Center Stage Productions. I applaud you for putting in the time and the effort to put together a large production in the caliber of “Rag” the musical.
It started off with a bang. I thought the set which was made with moving scaffolding was highly innovative and loved the tattered rag which they used as a projection screen. The actors and actresses were nice young and vivacious.
I just wish it wasn’t so excruciatingly slow.
I believe the director - who was the main actor as well - had a very relevant message. But oh my goodness didn’t he take a long time telling it.  He sang, he danced, he got on his knees and pleaded, he crawled and gyrated on the floor whilst singing like a fat worm, he flayed himself, he cried, tied himself with string and shaved his head to tell us what it was. But three hours and fifteen minutes later you had been inundated with so much emotion you had forgotten where it all started and what the entire plot was about.
The sound engineering did not help. It was the same kind of sound which was used for Evita.  What they did not realize is that most of the audience was familiar with the words of Evita and even if the words of the songs could not be heard clearly the audience could fill in the blanks by memory. Sadly it is not so when you are saying something completely new where each word has to be understood clearly if we are to ascertain the deeper meaning of what is being sung about. I know this for a fact because in advertising we say “if you have nothing to say then just sing”.  I was on the 06th row and could not understand what was being sung. I pity the people in the balcony.
I still can’t understand why some in the audience gave the play a standing ovation. Even some of those who were fast asleep towards the end. I am sure that since this was towards the end of the play the front rows would have been full of well wishers and relatives. Or the audience was so impatient to stand after being stuck in their seats for over three hours they thought a standing ovation was the best way to disguise a yearning to get their butt off the chairs.
One never knows would they?
Oh by the way there is nothing ugly about it I just put it there on the heading cos it looked good. 


Camicazi said...

Overall, I thought it was a boring and overrated production. However, saying that, I do not want to dismiss the talents of some young actors and singers who took part. There were some seriously talented folks. The music could have been so much more melodious, it lacked oomph and sounded pretty dead to me. I must admit I was really amused by the stage play item they did which was probably the highlight of the entire show. The second half was such a drag and it seemed to be that they just lost the plot from there onwards. It just became some sob saga going haywire that certainly did not appeal to me. But I did come across people who absolutely loved it, so it all boils down to personal taste.

cj said...

You are absolutely right Camicazi I loved the stage play item they did just before the intermission. In fact I was thinking of leaving during the break but seeing how lovely it was made me stay back for the second half of the show. I wish someone would post a video of that section on youtube would love to watch it once more.