About This Blog

I really like theatre, and I like writing and talking about it.

This blog is mostly about my relationship with theatre, the moments that make me fall in love with this art form, and the times when we don't always get along.

I'll be writing about things that I like, that I think are good and interesting and want to share. I will probably also write about things that I don't quite get, or think are wierd. I may also write about things that aren't theatre, strictly speaking, because it's my blog and I can.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Making The Nerds Nervous

If I'm going to provide commentary on theatre, I'd be remiss at this point in not discussing the most controversial theatrical event of the year, Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark. I'm both a theatre nerd and a comic book-reading, Dungeons & Dragons playing nerd (no joke, I have a weekly game). This show is one that everyone's talking about in both my theatre circles and my regular nerd circle, and dubiously in both cases.

While there's been a lot of buzz about the exciting production team, including music by U2's Bono and The Edge, with direction by Julie Taymor, most of the Spider-man fans I know are wondering, "why?" There have already been the three popular and successful Sam Raimi films in recent years (although they did go a bit off the rails near the end), and now the reboot starring Andrew Garfield, so this isn't a story that's begging for a fresh adaptation.

There's also a concern about lack or reverence for the source material. For example this article in the New York Post references a new villain called "Swiss Miss", who apparently is supposed to resemble a Swiss Army knife, despite sharing the name with a brand of hot cocoa. Spider-man already has a great villain pool to choose from, many of whom will appear in the show, including Carnage, Swarm, and The Green Goblin. Why so many?

The danger level of the show is also a major point of concern. A lot of the buzz about the show lately has been the various injuries incurred by the cast while performing stunts. One performer broke both wrists, and, though I can't confirm it, I've heard rumors that potential ensemble members have left auditions for the show after seeing how risky the choreography is, wary of potentially career-ending injuries.

I located a video with rehearsal footage from the show, which you can check out on their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=121115394618089

Ok, so this is what we're looking at: the wirework and fight choreography looks really cool. This issue is if it can be done safely--if appropriate precautions are taken, nothing in theatre should actually be dangerous, but we all know accidents do happen. No matter how impressive, the spectacular stunts aren't worth it if the performers are inherently at risk by doing them.

The creators of the show took a long time to start rolling out images and music from the show, keeping the public's speculation firmly focused on how expensive the show is, the numerous delays, and cast injuries and technical problems. If they can take care of those problems, they could have a great looking show, but I fear they may disappoint those looking for some substance with their style--and comic book fans may be left out in the cold altogether.


  1. I was reading the Tweets from Jane McGonigal about the performances. Notably the pauses... I know it's a preview run, but man... that's not good press.

    NYT has the skinny:

  2. Yeah, I read the NYT article, and noticed the audience complaint about the show seeming like a dress rehearsal. And well...it was. They've pretty much said the show's not ready to run before paying customers, but that they can't afford not to.

    I agree, it doesn't add anything positive to the show's reputation. But who knows, it could turn into ticket sales (if people are willing to spend $200 to see whether the show can pull itself together).