I have "real post material" I'm actually working on, I swear. I'm a bit busy at the moment, despite my joblessness, as I am trying to register for grad school, get a museum job, hang out with peeps, do two halloween costumes, get a whole party together, et cetera.
Oh, and trying to also blog over at my "professional blog", which, I haven't updated in over a week, shame on me. Note to self: haunted houses, city museum, phantom.
The other thing: mom and I went to the movie theater tonight to see the 25th anniversary showing of Phantom. It was pretty damn decent. When Laura and Latta went and said it was LCD-screen sets, I lost a fair amount of interest because I have seen the, what, 15th? anniversary showing of Les Mis, the one with mics and chairs and the only "scene" is the battle one, BUT I am glad I went because it wasn't like that at all.
They do have "digital set paintings", as it were. I am not sure they are LCD screens because 1) there didn't seem to be much backlight coming off them, 2) they were still strong enough to be seen well with bright stage lights on them. But I did get some interesting... diffraction? patterns when the camera was focused at certain lengths.
So, the reason for the digital sets: well, one, I think ALW is getting into that kind of thing. Haven't really been following Broadway lately but (number two) in my recent knowledge I know there's been a shift towards special scenery. Like Woman In White iirc was entirely on a stage that rotated around for different scenes. I think? Never saw it. We were supposed to, senior year, and it got the kibosh so we saw Lion King instead. (In terms of props I consider the trade highly worth it
, as my interest in puppetry might owe a fair amount to whoever designed those headpieces, unf.) (Yeah, I just "unf"ed over set design. This is me. Shoulda seen me earlier today, I freaked out over the facebook Indiana Jones game because I was in that kind of mood. You know, despite the fact that I've been playing it for weeks? Also, Ghostbusters showing Thursday. And I --actually, because
of seeing Phantom tonight-- caught the Doctor Who episode where he does the WHO YA GONNA CALL thing, and then I found out he did some hilarious Christmas special where he also danced to the theme song, and that both made me very happy especially after I was watching Doctor Who Confidential today mostly just so I could hear David Tennant talk with his Scottish accent which by the way is glorious
. So yes, set design.) Anyway
I absolutely adored
the way the space was laid out, strategically. The front of the stage was the sort of "lower stage"-- which, I'm sure, based on the size of that massive hall was plenty big for probably a full normal-sized show-- where all the acting took place. Then there was the "digital backdrop" which rather looked like paneling on a french screen, very well done. And two staircases on the sides. Above the immediate backdrop was the entire orchestra-- not a pit orchestra, I'm like 99% sure they reorchestrated for a fuller group (possibly for the movie? no idea)-- and behind and above them was the extention of the giant screen. They also used that "above" space for all the "rafters" and "the roof", etc. (Although the scene where the Phantom shows up on the roof and the... roof of the tomb?, I think those were lower, as in, he was riiiight in front of the conductor.
What I did like about the screen was that they did a lot of animation with it, opening and closing stage curtains, the falling scenery, etc. And they didn't rely on it entirely, either, they had props like dead bodies and such. (I really hope I'm not spoiling anyone, I'm trying to keep it not too specific.)
Because the theatre there was SO INCREDIBLY VASTLY MASSIVE, the one good thing about the screen was that it made the whole production a lot more accessible to the whole audience. (Not to mention the cast that was probably four times the size of the normal cast.) When Christine goes to her mirror, they used the screen instead of the mirror prop and made her larger so more people could see her.
My favorite part of it was when she does the aria and finishes, then bows to the audience, then turns around and is "still facing the audience" and the curtain closes so she is "backstage", they had what I'm pretty sure was a live feed of the actual
audience that night. And I think they had a feed for the "mirror" as well, as it seemed to be only a slight delay of what she was doing.
ON THE OTHER HAND, the technology sort of took away from it as well. In the mirror scene, they just had Christine and then up in the corner, the face of the Phantom talking to her. What? Why the fuck is that there? (And then they open it and the screen-mirror is also a door, and he's behind it, but that face wat
So you don't get the reveal of the two-way mirror. And also the creepy bride doll was not present, though I can't determine if that's yay or boo. Yay no creepy fetish doll! Boo no foreshadowing.
On the other hand, when the Phantom's letters are being voiced over, they also showed, on the larger "above" screen behind the orchestra, a video of the Phantom writing this letter. Which I thought was a very nice sort of movie-montage moment. So it's almost like this was a mix between the stage and movie versions, a stage play with movie effects-- which also relates to my next point.
The greatest thing I saw lacking was the stage effects
. And I'm not talking about props or costumes or dancing or direction or the fact that they had an absurdly massive chorus (despite the fact that I found the voices rather drowning eachother out, and therefore also, the countermelodies). The. Fucking. Special. Stage. Effects. As in, when the musical first was made, they hired a stage magician-- an sfx-for-stage-shows-guy-- to do fabulous stuff. WHICH HE DID. And which were not in the show
Uh, the "stairs"? No. The trapdoor-running-couple that gives yet another mysterious montage effect? No. Fireballs straight from the Phantom's staff to the ground? NO. Just stage explosions or fire bursts or something.
Oh my god and the chandelier wasn't rigged to crash, either, it just sort of shorted out with bonus fireworks effect.
(Also? I did not notice until tonight that the chandelier, which I think
is supposed to look like candlelight flickering, looks like a fucking flying saucer taking off. YOU SEE THOSE CHASE LIGHTS? DAMMIT PUT A BETTER FLICKER MECHANISM IN THERE, YOU CAN AFFORD THEM. Christ.)
At any rate. So the set-dressing-and-props side of me really loves the "real" stage version better, but this was still SUPERBLY done. And I forgot how long it's been since I've listened to it, and how much I hate all the re-lyricking they've done since the original, and how much Lara and I used to know about it thanks to A.P. English and
the New York trip. Although I was thinking it was 1989 when it came out and then I was like herp derp nope I guess it's '86? Which, shit, that's Little Shop too and I totally misremembered. So I guess Little Mermaid was '89, and I was sitting there thinking "well maybe I'm remembering some corps did Phantom in '89, except I think Phantom did Phantom (Phantom Regiment, that is, the former), and I'm like 99% sure they did the 1812 in '89." So I checked later, and, sure enough, Vanguard did Phantom in '88 and
'89. (I remembered from a video, the chair prop, and I seem to recall a lot of ridiculous '80's dance-style ballet-ish-ness.)
So back to this "we used to know so much" thing. We pretty much knew the stage recordings backwards-to-forwards and the movie as well, and I remember having enough criteria that after we saw the Broadway version (oh, ALSO, no surround-sound effects in the movie theater, I mean COME ON) we had some critiques of the Phantom and Carlotta although I think I liked Daae? I don't remember now, though.
BUT ANYWAY, the vocalists were positively fabulous
. The Phantom did his own thing while still sort of being Michael-Crawford-lite (my favorite Phantom) (I hate Gerard Butler's Phantom GOTDAMN), and Christine was wonderful and I didn't want to Sarah-Brightman-stab-her (the Phaaantom oooof the Oooooperer), and Carlotta was not the tiny-whiny-diva like Minnie Driver and all the others but was a rather large lady but absolutely owned
the role. I love her. She seemed much more like the character should be, an opera diva
spoiled and famous. Maybe it's that whole viking-lady shtick-stereotype but DAMN
, get it, gurl.
Allow me to explain. I detest Raoul. I have never liked him. I have never liked the actors/vocalists who I've seen/heard play him, I never liked his character
, and even reading the book the only benefit I could see was that he and Christine were childhood friends and the Phantom is obviously KINDA FUCKIN' CREEPYTOWNS all up in there and Christine's character needs to not end up with his.
Whoops, spoilers, shit. Although I guess if you've made it this far, I mean, the musical's been out for 25 years so... T.S. Eliot, but I'm sorry. (And the book... ah... probably about a century now, rite? Just passed, I think? 1904?) (...ohshit 1910. So we're like right thurr.)
At any rate.
I FUCKING HATE RAOUL. Even though Patrick-Whatshisface and Emmy Rossum and pretty much the entire cast of the movie besides Gerard Butler were PERFECTLY cast, and I love that actor in everything else I've seen him in, I have hated Raoul. I think part of it was that ridiculous Fabio hair. Long, blond, and a ponytail. Or that was just the icing on the whatthefuck cake, I don't know. ANYWAY.
Holy shit the guy playing him in this version needs to just fly over the US and marry me because JESUS CHRIST HE WAS FABULOUS. Amazing voice. Actually wanted to cheer for him instead of the Phantom, actually cried for him and Christine when you're supposed to, all that fabbishness. Juxtapositionally made the Phantom feel a lot more creeper as well.
Anyway so the whole time I'm like YAY I DON'T HATE RAOUL but he looks familiar? so I looked him up when I got home and he was on a fucking episode of Doctor Who.
Aaaaand it just so happened to be on the dvds the lovely astrid087
has let me borrow, and, sadly, he's in like two scenes and has maybe one line before he gets Cybermann'd. NOOOOOOOOO
So other than that I'm fan-stalking him now but--this might be the only time I've ever said this about a dude, and possibly because guys don't mess with their hair much? but-- he looks a lot better as a blond. (Also worth noting, his Raoul did not have a ponytail, thankthefuckinglord.)
Uh, and then I found out Instructables' Halloween contests, since being bought by Autodesk, now have grand prizes such as A FUCKING DESK LASER-CUTTER.
Yeah, I could do work on that, fuck
I hope this year is my year, then. Gotta get that Medusa instructable up, and then Portal, and GET ME SOME VOTES!
So, today, in summation: David Tennant, Phantom of the Opera, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, Raoul, Doctor Who, awesome engineering.
Oh and I spent like WAY too much on all the things I have been needing to buy for Halloween, but I feel more caught up so I can work on things when they finally get here in the mail. Beakers and Erlenmeyer flasks for drinks? Check. Kinda want to heat one up on the burners and make tea in one just because. (I probably will.) Also I got some adorbs shoes, and light packs and mushroom switches and all sorts of lovelies.
...Oh and ALSO, Michael Crawford didn't sing! What! Sarah Brightman did, along with four guys who I'm assuming played the Phantom who I don't know (although possibly one of them was the guy we saw on Broadway who I'm thinking had played that character longer than anyone else ever) and the guy from the Twenty-Fifth show. But ohmygodMichaelCrawfordIloveyou whyyyyyyy!?
Also-also I maaaaaaay have made a really bad Dalek pun today on facebook. Totally worth it. And I will still probably call them day-leks in conversation, it just seems right...
(rabble rabble stupid americans rabble rabble England was the one who changed their accent so HA)