Once upon a time, I thought the idea of pouring heart and soul into a show where a bunch of people form a cohesive bond for a short period of time in the attempt to accomplish one artistic goal was a laudible pasttime. I still think that serious drama might be something I could do; but with the caveat that I could only do it as a way of life. I don't think I can deal with the frentic orgy of activity associated with posting a show that runs for 2-3 weekends and a couple matinees then evaporates.
Some people form lifetime troupes, doing this on a cyclical process for many years. This, I can see as a worthwhile recreational past time, if not for the enevitable and variable interpersonal melodrama that such covens spawn. Who is sleeping with who, who hates who, who upstaged who, who got what part that he/she felt they did/did not deserve... It all adds up over time, enevitably turning into something akin to a FOX reality TV show.
I'm actually surprised they haven't made something like this yet.
Anyway, the wandering point of this particular babble brings me to music, more specifically, musicals. I am an incredible fan of the olde bardic tradions. I think that if I had a better voice, I might even have made a good scop in a former life. Drama, Comey, Tragedy, Parody, or otherwise, reqires talent in the emotional range... musicals however, (while, of course, there are certain exceptions) simply require a good voice, and a lot of coreography.
The basic elements of storytelling through song have not changed all that much over the centuries we've been doing it. That is, until recently anyway. The use of cyclical melody/harmony, simple instumental accompaniemnet, a strong central singer/singers, and clever rhyme for delivery are a rather interesting cross-cultural phenomena from an anthropological standpoint.
However, since the beginning of the cinematic phenomena, the changes have been rather astounding.
Cinema allows you to do things you cannot possibly accomplish on stage. betwen visual effects, recorded musical numbers, independent instrumental accompaniment, larger budgets, using real life "scenery"... the whole process changes. As a result, in my opinion, the stage has suffered. Broadway has to compete with Hollywood to draw customers. Many of the same tired shows are "revived" or redone outright to give them a new fashionable, crowd drawing twist. Hollywood bleeds over into the stage, where famous actors pursue stage careers. I am sure some of them have a true desire to be on stage instead of a camera, but even more, I'm sure, are drawn to the $$.
Point in case, listening to Richard gere or that Zellwigger chick trying to hold notes they clearly were not physically designed to produce.
Richelle and I talked breilfy about this in the car after leaving Chicago last night. I had hoped with the heavy string of musicals-for-film that the 60's and 70's brought us, that the trend would be over. The viewing public's attention span is too short these days. Who can compete with the T&A, and 5 minute exposition to resolution that MTV2 (since MTV is too good for music videos) or VH1 innundate the masses with.
It is a curious thing...perhaps a new-age chicken/egg. Did the trend to create a more powerful version of a musical message start with the influx of musical cinematic efforts, or did the two phenomena have independent roots and a common cause?
It is a big issue to pick at, I'm not even going to try and encompass the whole argument. Should music and video stay seperate? I don't think so, especailly when so many of these comonations have resulted in a final product where the sum is greater than the whole of the two parts. But I drifted...
My point is, that for the most part, I don't like musicals. I have been in 5, as a performer, and that was enough to let me know that I didn't have any intrest anymore. Overall, my personal experiences concering groups of thespians may have been tainted, who knows. Some of the people I have called freinds for the longest amounts of time are people I would not otherwise know unless it were for musicals. An irony, perhaps a bit too biting to put into song....