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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stage vs. Screen

With most audiences gravitating towards movie theaters, there's been a lot of talk lately about making theater more high-tech, with moving scenery and live 3D projections, in order to compete with film.

I would like to suggest that the best way to compete with your rival is not to try to offer the same product they do, but to offer something you can't get from them.

I was reading the news this morning, and looking at all the reviews of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, which actually opened last night! As in, for reals opened. While much improved, it's still being described as "bombastic", "overblown", and "soulless". Similarly, I wanted to see the Metropolitan Opera's Die Walkure (forgive the lack of umlaut, I can't kind the keyboard shortcut) last month. While many reviews acknowledged the evocative images conjured by the impressive stage machinery, they complained that it was distracting, dwarfing the performers and pulling focus away from the heart of the story.

On the other end of the spectrum, I was reading about PigPen Theatre Company's show "The Mountain Song", who tell their story with practical forms of puppetry such as a dress on a stick, a blanket, and hand puppets (as in, literally just their hands). Shows like this are more often described by critics as "charming", "whimsical", "imaginative" and "intimate".

One of the greatest shows I ever saw (I swear I will sit down and write a comprehensive post about it one of these days) was Shockheaded Peter. I saw an article about it's old-timey, Grand Guignol-style stage effects in the New York Times, and took a last minute bus trip to New York just to see it. Critics (and I) agreed that it was unique, bizarre, and mesmerizing.

I'm working on a couple brainchild project concepts for the near-to-distant-to-possibly-never future, and my foremost concern is not how to give the audiences and experience that rivals the movie theaters, but one so unique they can't possible experience it anywhere else.

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