Tagged: performance

The Thing About Theatre

This weekend I watched a play that my cousin was in. Noises Off, it was called. My experience with plays is rather limited. A Shakespeare play here or there, but always in English class, where everyone is amateurs and very few students would voluntarily put a little ardor into their acting. Reading them just doesn’t suffice. It takes a certain sort of reader that is good at constructing a scene in their minds with very little information, just some lines of dialogue and a few vague, interpretable cues. Personally, I won’t be able to appreciate a play if I only read it. I won’t understand the plot, I won’t recognize the key events. Watching however, is a totally different experience.

Thespians. This year, we had an extremely strong cast of seniors, and Noises Off was the spring play. I also happened to watch it on a Saturday night, the last night a play is typically performed at our school, which meant that this was the very last play of their high school careers. All four years of their acting, all those long nights of practice and execution had come to this. Granted, lots of extracurricular activities also carry out like this but I don’t watch plays very often, and this one seemed to stand out.

Very rarely can high schoolers act so well that I actually laugh out loud. However, this group of people succeeded! The play was written to be very disorderly, so messily so that I couldn’t believe none of it was improv. It was phenomenal. Regardless of this particular play, I have come to a seemingly insignificant, yet all the more enlightening realization about theatre arts.

It’s a one time only sort of phenomenon. How many times can you watch a play? One of the most challenging aspects for the performers is not to get that one frustrating “act” or “scene” correct during the technical, or the dress rehearsal. It’s more about perfect execution THE NIGHT OF. Whenever there’s an audience to impress,the pressure is always on.

How many times can you watch a play? Well, a video taping doesn’t really suffice, does it? The audience has already been laughed and cried, and thus, when you watch it, the natural reflex won’t come. At the least, this is my experience when watching pre-recorded performances

The thing about plays is that so much effort goes into every single production that they are so extremely hard to recreate. You’d have to have a vast imagination to overcome the lack of props, scenery, and lighting. Of course, they managed to do that back when Shakespeare created his masterpieces, but I feel that since then, we as humans have come to rely on objects and false lighting to construct a setting. While this may be disadvantageous in a sense, I think it’s a fact to accept, a reality that is unlikely to be reversed.

When you’re at a party and you meet a violin player, you can urge them to perform a piece and it’s easy as pie. They can call their buddies up and go grab their instrument out of their car and in minutes, a makeshift chamber group has been assembled. They can play a whole piece beginning to end.

A singer needs nothing but his or her voice, and maybe a microphone. They can easily finish an entire ballad before you have to scramble to find props or equipment of some sort.

You ask a theatre kid to perform a little skit, and it’s relatively simple as well. A snippet of their favorite scene? Easily done. But you ask them to perform the whole play, or even an act, and it’s much harder to accomplish, no? If it’s a monologue, this might be more realistic but in general, you tend to need other experienced and well-versed actors, lighting, scenery, or props, at the least. Obviously this isn’t impossible to pull off but it’s a whole lot harder. People aren’t as willing to gather material and sit through a performance if they’re imagination isn’t comfortable creating the rest of the magical ambiance. Thus, it is important to acknowledge the complexity of recreating theatrical performances, and it is all the more essential to realize that going to see a play is a privileged experience. We should enjoy it when we can and savor the performance while we can, because these actors are sweating, screaming, and jumping around stage to make us smile and laugh.

What’s in a Song?

I don't look nearly as dramatic as her.

I don’t look nearly as dramatic as her.

There are infinite reasons for appreciating a song. In my experience, I’ve liked songs simply because of who it reminds me of, who suggested it to me, where I heard it, or who I heard singing it. I might enjoy just the heavy beat, the interesting music video, or the contagious and infectious catchiness.

Music represents an endless amount of ideas, and there exists a song for every mod. It can immediately add emotion and drama to any situation; it has the tendency to sooth or anger, relax or excite.

Everyone has a unique music taste of their own. You wouldn’t be able to distinguish my particular music taste just from listening to one song on my playlist, simply because I don’t think I can be defined accurately and completely with just a single song.

Music reminds me of my childhood, because there are honestly some songs out there that Ilike, but don’t know why. There are other songs that have never truly left my “favorites queue,” that I have yet to tire of.

You can dance to music; you can jump around and sing to it.

Music is used to promote, and to advertise. We use it to get revenge on others through lyrics, to express emotion, and to connect with other people of similar appreciative tastes and opinions.

What’s in an orchestra? A band, a chorus? A violin, an electric guitar, or a triangle? We wouldn’t have some of our greatest role models if instruments and music groups hadn’t been conceptualized and created over people’s mutual love of music.

Some people are just natural born performers, while others should be confined to their shower.

It’s as if you’ve taken your favorite lines of poetry, set them to a beat, and added a tune, et voila, you have a song.

It blows my mind to imagine music as an inspiration for a revolution. Of course, no one has ever stood on a podium and yelled to a crowd, “FOR THE LOVE OF DUBSTEP!” and started a massive mindset shift towards electronic dance music. What I mean by this is that some pieces have been for influential and moving that people become motivated to fight for what they believe in, and what they want. Astounding to me is the influence that people like Justin Bieber and Harry Styles can hold, because…yeah.

On the other hand, look to the Haiti earthquake in 2010. The remake of “We are the world” raised awareness of the destruction, and motivation to make donations and do service work.

In 2011, a devastating tsunami struck Japan, and a charity compilation album, “Songs for Japan,” raised over five million dollars.

Live performances are a great way for people to congregate and bond over mutual interests, because the performer knows the music backwards and forwards, sweating and crying whilst giving their best performance. It’s as if you are looking the artist/composer/singer/performer full in the face; they can’t hide behind the studio window, buried under hours of remixing and auto-tuning.

One of many of my favorite music genres is dubstep*. It’s music centered around the bass, which draws on many musical influences such as techno and reggae. Quality dubstep is just phenomenal, because no one looks cooler than someone with a big pair of headphones, dramatically bobbing their head up and down as they listen to the epic bass drum of dubstep. Whilst listening to said “dubstep,” you can’t just turn the volume down to “barely audible” and expect to receive the whole experience of what my love of dubstep is founded upon.

I used to think that I would be able to sleep to dubstep, and I did for a while. My daydreams mutated into bizarre hallucinations during the day hours, and my night dreams transformed into extraordinary illusions. The experience was…surreal.

I dramatically nod my head up and down with an obnoxiously big set of headphones, with dubstep banging in my eardrums like a raging animal. The entire experience is complete.

Ear buds are just ho-hum; if you want the full dubstep experience, you need to chuck those little ear buds out and go get yourself a quality pair of headphones.


*Warning: this recently emerged music genre is NOT for the light of heart.