06 October 2009

5 Theatrical Pet Peeves

As a Geminii, I am simultaneous easy-going and incredibly neurotic.  So, while I try to have a laissez-faire attitude most of the time, certain attitudes, opinons, and actions never fail to make me want to punch a brick wall.

1) People who wish a show would "just close already"--I've already discussed this at length, so I won't rehash now.  But it's annoying.

2) Somehow insinuating that RENT would have been so much better had it not be frozen upon Jonathan Larson's untimely death.--This issue actually points to one of the biggest issues in the development of Musical Theater.  Everybody thinks they know how to fix the show.  Sometimes, like with NEXT TO NORMAL, a show can be in development for years and remain so close until that 1 special workshop or production where everything falls into place.  But I'm willing to bet just as many shows are so close...until 4 years of workhops and readings and differeing opinions from directors and artistic directors and dramaturgs extinguish what original spark was still there.  The whole situation reminds me of that speech from SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION:
I remembered why I loved paintings in the first place, what got me into this. I thought... dreamt... remembered... how easy it is for a painter to lose a painting. He paints and paints, works on a canvas for months, and then, one day, he loses it. Loses the structure, loses the sense of it. You lose the painting. I remembered asking my kids' second-grade teacher: 'Why are all your students geniuses? Look at the first grade - blotches of green and black. The third grade - camouflage. But your grade, the second grade, Matisses, every one. You've made my child a Matisse. Let me study with you. Let me into the second grade. What is your secret?' 'I don't have any secret. I just know when to take their drawings away from them.'
Yes, it is certainly possible that RENT could have been a better show had there been an opportunity for revision.  It also could have been the same show but shorter, or with a different song instead of "Contact".  Or it could have been worse.  There are more important things than a "tight" first act, and the essence of the show--the memorable characters, the great score and the infectious, tangible, spirit--was pitch perfect.

3) Bloggers who apologize for not posting--I mean, we love you.  But, as Eliza Doolittle would sing, "There'll be fruit on the tree,/ And a shore by the sea./ There'll be crumpets and tea without you."  And we're more than likely behind on our blog reading, not annoyed that you've been "MIA."  So please, go to you cousin's wedding, and don't stress out about it.  Really, we're not waiting.

4) "The Miller's Son" serves no purpose in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC--"You see", them what make this point argue, "at that point in the story, everyone is partnering up and plotlines are being resolved, so we can't interrupt that wiht a song that has nothing to do with the plot."  This literally blows my mind.  Hal Prince.  And Stephen Sondheim.  Men who literally turned the musical inside out aren't allowed to stop the proceedings at an unexpected point in the evening to deliver a thematically relevant--if not THE thematically relevant--number?  Suddenly they need to do things the expected way?  Because it kind of reminds you have a well structured farce?  That's what we WANT them to do, right?  And let's not forget, they realized, out of town, that they needed this song and had to FIRE someone who wasn't able to sing it.  You don't just FIRE people because you really want to "show off" and "ruin the pace" of your 2nd Act.  And Leigh Ann Larkin is going to tear the shit out of that at the Walter Kerr.

5) "The original CHICAGO was sooooo much better than the revival"--Even if this is true (and isn't that almost always the case anyway?) what exactly is the point in saying this?  It seems to me to say "you know that show you liked?  well, you shouldn't have enjoyed it, because there was a better version of it that you will NEVER SEE.  And since you'll never see it, you pretty much have to assume I'm right.  Hope I ruined your fond memories of a night in the theater!"  Sub-peeve: Why does playbill run an article every time Brett Barrett goes back into CHICAGO?  I think we all pretty much know that's where we can find him.

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