I went to a musical/opera thing last night. It was the Czech version of Leonard Bernstein's "Mass", performed in the DRFG arena. Here are my thoughts:
- The curtain speech was short, clear, and to the point. Some shows I've seen, these speeches last long enough for me to do my taxes, and are about as interesting, so this was nice. Like a good introduction at a party: Audience, meet play. Here's an interesting detail. I'm sure you two will hit it off.
- The songs were all in English. The subtitles were presented on screens behind the stage (functionally the backdrop) and the presentation of some of the subtitles was really fitting to the music -- like watching a good sign language interpreter for music. I saw a presentation of "West Side Story" that projected the translation of song lyrics very creatively, and I'm happy to see this becoming a part of how English-language production is done here.
- I liked the simplicity of the costumes and the set.
- I liked, although I found it weird, that people seemed to wander off and back on the stage. It felt super casual and I liked that in some ways although I felt like where do they keep going, anyway? bathroom breaks?
- Gratuitous male nudity! I'm sorry no it was totally intrinsic to the story.
- The acapella songs were lovely.
- Some of the film clips projected on the screens were nice and seemed to complement/further the story, especially the ones that interlaid footage of the actors.
- The dialogue parts, which were in Czech, were mostly well-enunciated enough that I could understand them and follow along for those parts of the story.
- If there was a narrative to the pictures and film clips on the screen, they could have slowed it down so that uncultured people like me could understand it. It was incredibly fast and distracting from the action on the stage and it made me feel jumpy. They slowed it down for one whole song to focus on a woman's chest, with a crucifix. Sure.
- The orchestra was louder than the singers; as a person who cares about the words much more than the music, this was not ideal for me.
- The doors to the stadium don't close, so I got to watch the well-lit doorway across the way with ushers milling about, plus people walking out of the performance (sometimes in groups; sometimes I think these were just bathroom runs).
- The pronunciation on some songs was ... poor.
- The number of things that were distracting to me were over the top, and left me thinking snarky Anne-narrative thoughts, like:
I have issues with children performing in any high-pressure situation (school groups on stage for concerts is fine, but "carry your country to the Olympics" is, in my opinion, a form of evil) and I felt.. problematic about how much of the turn of this story rested on a child under 10.
This is a hockey stadium. Hockey players are well paid. I wonder if these performers are as well paid? Oh, are we doing sports vs. arts now? That always ends well.
Uhm so all the characters were unhappy when they were wearing gray sweaters, and all they had to do was take the gray sweaters off and then they were happy? Seems like they could have thought of that a lot sooner. Those sweaters are pretty cool, though, I wonder if I could get one.