25 November 2011 - Again, from the top... of a scene in the middle

posted 25th Nov 2011, 6:53 AM

25 November 2011  - Again, from the top... of a scene in the middle
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25th Nov 2011, 6:53 AM

Lich_Barrister

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One of the grand things you can do in live productions that simply can't be managed (yet) with TV or film or video games is to actually have the performer there beside you, breaking the fourth wall as they leave or join the stage.

One of the easiest things to overdo and ruin in live performances is to break the fourth wall and have the performers there with the audience.

I don't know when I first saw this sort of thing done. I've seen it done a lot. Hell, I directed the bad guys in "Annie" to do it, but they already break the fourth wall more than the others. The single greatest instance I've ever seen was in the greatest production I've ever seen (but not the greatest play) - "The Beggar's Opera" by John Gay, an 18th Century English operetta transposed to millennial Vancouver.

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW - IT'S THE CLIMAX OF THE PLAY

MacHeath (you know him as "Mack the Knife") is about to be put to death at the end of the play, and just as the tension mounts and the hangman crosses, a cellphone goes off in the audience. LOUDLY and with an ANNOYING RINGTONE, too. The twentysomething woman fumbles with her purse, hunts and profusely apologizes as she hunts and those around her cast ugly looks, even invective her way. And instead of shutting it off, she answers it! "Hi, I'm at a play! ...Wait, who? ...Really?" People are losing their minds with annoyance... and then she gets up and runs the phone up to the stage, bangs on the apron for the policeman's attention, and hands over the call for clemency. Perfectly done every time I saw it (three in all).

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25th Nov 2011, 11:22 AM

Louise

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Grrrr... now I got THAT song stuck in my head.

"Oh the shark has pretty teeth dear,
And he shows them pearly white..."

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25th Nov 2011, 11:39 AM

thewriter13

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When I was in college we were ordered, especially in Shakespeare plays, to go into the audience.and take their phone. Also Mr. Shakespeare was well known to break the fourth wall.

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25th Nov 2011, 6:00 PM

Lich_Barrister

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@Louise - Sorry for that. I can't quite recall, but I think the ringtone was "Mambo No. 5," just for further annoyance. ;)

@Writer - I like your college instructor's style, and would like to subscribe to its directorial newsletter.

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25th Nov 2011, 8:56 PM

BrickVoid

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What do the sentences in brackets mean?

Also, this is the first time I've had a chance to have a really good look at the new theater set itself, nicely done, L.B.! :D

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26th Nov 2011, 5:06 AM

Lich_Barrister

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@Brickvoid - The brackets are an effort to make them seem like stage whispers without going to the smaller text (which should be for dynamically softer, as tomorrow shows...) Did that effect work for people, or not?

And the theatre's still in need of some work... but so's my building area, which has not been set up yet. I'm hoping that next weekend I'll get some time with my dad, my desk, and his table saw so that I can start to get the centrepiece into shape... but he's off to the Grey Cup this weekend.

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