Monday, November 24, 2014

The Suspension of Disbelief and the Musical

Suspension of Disbelief: a willingness to suspend one's critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment. (coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

We all suspend our disbelief every day.  Every time we watch a movie, read a book or see a stage show.

But I believe that we suspend our disbelief in different ways for different past times.

Think about it.  You're watching a musical on the stage.  The sets are minimal (Like Chicago), the character has a massive deformity, but the actor has no makeup or prosthetics (Violet or the Elephant Man), the actors talk to the audience, and are ignored by those around them (seriously, too many plays to mention).  Those conceits don't fly on television.  They hardly every fly in the movies.  (The end of the History Boys was a bit off putting with the stuff at the end, and the Producers was just WAY over the top... in a way that would work on state but not on film)

Now live musicals are a thing again.  We had the Sound of Music last year.  Next week is Peter Pan.  People are either loving these or hating them.  Me, I'm always pro-musical... but I have these thoughts:

  • The casting last year was terrible.  I have hopes for this year.
  • Without a live audience, the performances lose something.  Ask anyone that performs live, and they'll agree.
  • I've hard that they made the role of Tiger Lily less offensive.    I'm interested to see how.
  • There's talks of Grease and The Music Man next.  Both of these make me immensely happy.  But casting will be key.  As we all know now *cough*CarrieUnderwood*cough* it doesn't work.
  • People REALLY shouldn't be looking for the slick production that a movie musical has.  There is no CGI or post production.  It's all harnesses, costuming, sets, makeup and camera angles.  I wonder if this is causing some of the disappointment.
Needless to say, I'll be there.  With wine.  And popcorn.

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