Saturday, February 19, 2005

That's (not) Entertainment!
We went down to Boston to see the stage performance of The Lion King. Man, it's a good thing the tickets had been given to us as a gift because I think I would have gotten violent if I had wasted my own money seeing this thing. I have no idea what the big hype is with this musical - the production was severely underwhelming. First off, the use of lighting and sound could have provided a more immersive experience if they paid more attention to it. The music seemed canned rather than live (and probably was) - everything sounded like it was dubbed, including the actor's lines. The props looked like big slabs of painted particle board. (But Granite, most stage performance props are simply painted slabs of board). Yes I know, but the Broadway level professionals are skilled at making sure that the look of their staged performances exceed the type put on by your local high school. Unfortunately, they failed miserably here; staging a performance that looked no better than an highly extravagant community theater musical.

Another huge problem for us was with the costumes. The designers inexplicably chose to have the characters be both in costume and operate talking puppet masks. So when the lion or hyena speaks you are seeing a made up actor deliver the lines as well as speak them with its puppet mask apparatus attachment. This effect made it difficult to connect with the characters - you couldn't focus in on the actors because the puppet masks distracted you, and you couldn't focus on the puppet masks because the actors were more than just operators. If they had gone one way or the other - dress up in face paint (like Cats) or wear masks (and be hidden behind them) the show would have worked, but they way they did it was really f'd up and we hated it.

We left during intermission. It was just not worth sitting through the rest of.


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