Last month I went to see the opera La Traviata because my friend was performing in its chorus. Now, I never used to like opera. I was annoyed with how difficult it is to understand the words opera singers are singing, even when they’re in English. And I had been negatively affected by the stereotype of the “fat lady in horns”, which is, I think, a very ugly way of singing.
Pictured: Not a fat lady in horns. This is a picture of the main character from the production I actually saw.
Well, I don’t hate opera anymore.
For this production, the problem of translation was solved by the recent trend of “supertitling”, which is projecting translations of the singers’ lyrics above the stage (in this case, from the original Italian into English). And the style of singing was much more beautiful than what I had been expecting. As my opera singer friend explained to me later, opera spans a very wide range of history and musical styles, so it appears I have found one I like. But none of that is why I really loved this opera. More after the break! Continue reading →
This is my last post as a regular writer for Lady Geek Girl & Friends. It’s been a wonderful yearlong ride, so big thanks to everyone here at the blog and you all for reading my posts. I hope that I’ve written something in the past twelve months that made you think a little. Now that we’ve gotten all the sappiness out of the way, let’s talk about theatre. More specifically, let’s talk about diversity in theatre. I’m always on the lookout for good, diverse theatre, as well as projects and performances that reach out to non-mainstream audiences. I’ve made argument after argument about the importance of more inclusive theatre. At this stage, to rehash each and every one for you would be redundant. So let me take you somewhere else. Continue reading →
Before there was the Book of Mormon, there was South Park. The creators of both, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, had previously dabbled in musicals with things like Cannibal!the Musical and various episodes of South Park, but it wasn’t until South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut that viewers really got to see Parker and Stone’s musical talent.
This musical movie sets out to tackle censorship issues, and it parodies everything from Disney’s animated movies to big name musicals like Les Misérables and Oklahoma. Even Stephen Sondheim stated that South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut was one of the best musicals he’d seen in years. Is it any surprise that Parker and Stone would go on to take Broadway by storm?
No, you read that title right. Death Note, the manga/anime about a high school student who murders murderers by writing their name down in his magical notebook… it’s actually a lot cooler than I’m making it sound.
While the anime and manga were incredibly interesting, my question is… will the story make a great musical?
Imagine, if you will, the following: Tom Hiddleston killing it. Hard, right? Not simply being pretty good, or reasonably impressive, but really killing it. And not just killing it, but killing everyone. Hiddles has taken his bit back to London’s West End, where he is currently starring in a production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. This underrated revenge tragedy follows a battle-hardened Roman general who, betrayed for his tyrannical leanings, moves to take revenge on the city itself. The production, running at London’s Donmar Warehouse (which is technically in the West End) until February 8, has been widely lauded.
In my last Theatre Thursday, I discussed Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the problematic themes of stalking, and the general disenfranchisement of our female lead Penny’s character. At the end of that post, I briefly mentioned that perhaps the reason Penny’s character leaves something to be desired is because of how the musical discusses masculinity.
As much as Joss Whedon is considered by many to be a feminist, I often wonder if he plans some of the themes I see in his work, or if it happens by mistake. Whatever the case, this musical makes some strong statements about masculinity and what it means not only to be a man, but to be a man in relation to a woman.
So when trying to decide what to write about, I realized that we’ve never discussed Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog in depth (although Bacula has done a great review here),which I thought was an atrocity that had to be remedied. Now I wish I’d never thought to write about this stupid musical.
Let me be very clear, I love Dr. Horrible, love it. It tells the story from the villains’ perspective, it asks questions about who is really good or evil (the hero or the villain), it has amazing songs, it was written by Joss Whedon, it starred Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris. What more could a nerd want? But when I started rewatching this little musical mini-series, I was struck by how much it romanticizes stalking and how it takes away any autonomy Penny might have.