Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

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Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:27 pm

What it says in the title. Do you have a favourite play? Have you seen a good one, be it on stage or a tv adaptation recently? Do you watch plays or is an source of entertainment that doesn't work for you?
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:40 am

Most of the plays here are in Korean. I can watch them and get the basics of the plot and enjoy things well enough, but of course some nuance is lost. However, there is a small troupe of English speakers over here that has been doing Shakespeare plays, among other things, which has been a bit of a renaissance for me in terms of going to plays. I've watched their renditions of Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream. They're definitely slapped together in some ways (lack of budget for props and costumes, mainly) but the actors for the most part are very watchable, even if the seats are dreadfully uncomfortable. I have left both performances highly pleased.*

I minored in Theater Arts in university, so I've got a pretty healthy appreciation for the efforts of everyone into making the performance work. Plus, I think there is something to be said about seeing an actor put their wares on display right there in front of you. Some of the best cinema actors also have strong backgrounds in stage.

I do wonder if plays are able to draw in casuals with an engrossing story. Some plays out there have out and out classic plots that really don't pull punches. I feel like in some circles though, that stage performances have gotten a reputation for being a bit elitist, given the price for a ticket and all.

*edit
Last edited by Zyzyfer on Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:38 am

I've been to see two shows\musicals in the last week.

The first was Jesus Christ Superstar which was really well performed. The cast, especially Judas was absolutely quality! I thought Lloyd-Webber did some things really well, like exploring Judas and the physicality of Jesus' death.

However I didn't like the relationship between Jesus and Mary and the portrayal of disciples\Jesus' camp. It felt like a hippie commune to me.

The second was 'Is she a Robot?' A one man show in a small independent theatre. It was quite strange, at one point the actor with a mattress strapped to his back literally walked over the audience and tried to do a back roll over my head. All that said I did enjoy it but probably wouldn't see either of them again.
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:19 pm

In terms of live plays, a few panto's and Joseph (which I still remember) as a child. The rest are, this probably counts as cheating, where a TV crew records a live on stage play (*not counting film/TV adaptations) so Kiss Me Kate (maybe another musical but can't recall it), those compilation of musical and on plays alone.... nearly all (Julius Ceaser the exception) at Globe Theatre, all Shakespeare bar recently, the Jacobean Duchess of Malfi. Wish the BBC and Sky Arts (who do far more then BBC) would do more

I do them intresting as they feel very different from, say, a film version. The very style of acting is different (what works for a film might not work for a player and so on), the way candle-light can change the atmosphere in an indoor theatre, that some of the cast can interact with the audience. Or that mistakes happen and that can stick in the mind: I still have fond memories of Jamie Parker suddenly corpsing, leading to the same for Laura Rogers as they were meant to be doing a romantic scene, both managing to make something of it.

Zyzyfer wrote:
I do wonder if plays are able to draw in casuals with an engrossing story. Some plays out there have out and out classic plots that really don't pull punches. I feel like in some circles though, that stage performances have gotten a reputation for being a bit elitist, given the price for a ticket and all.

*edit


I think plays are capable of drawing people in if 1) it is a good play, 2) possibly not old language, 3) the person is there already. The problem may well be getting the person there as either it feels elitist (not opera level but still "not for the likes of me") or amateur which has to shake off the stuffiness reputation and sneers about it being amateur. At least in my view expirence

Sun Fin wrote:The first was Jesus Christ Superstar which was really well performed. The cast, especially Judas was absolutely quality! I thought Lloyd-Webber did some things really well, like exploring Judas and the physicality of Jesus' death.

However I didn't like the relationship between Jesus and Mary and the portrayal of disciples\Jesus' camp. It felt like a hippie commune to me.


I really want to see that someday. Heard one or two songs from it and on Lloyd-Webber anniversary show, enjoyed Chris Moyle's patter as Pilate. That and in last few years gained an intresting in religious themed stuff, the BBC's nativity and passion series (which you might like Sun Fin) they did in recent years for example.
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:12 am

Sun Fin wrote:I've been to see two shows\musicals in the last week.

The first was Jesus Christ Superstar which was really well performed. The cast, especially Judas was absolutely quality! I thought Lloyd-Webber did some things really well, like exploring Judas and the physicality of Jesus' death.

However I didn't like the relationship between Jesus and Mary and the portrayal of disciples\Jesus' camp. It felt like a hippie commune to me.


Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww a musical. :lol:

I have issues with musicals being viewed in the same vein as a more traditional play. The story is told through song (and sometimes dance), so it's a completely different performance process. Honestly, whenever they break out into song in this type of performance, I feel a huge disconnect with the characters, it's like the actors are putting everything down to do a singing routine for a few minutes. Whatever influenced the sentiment embedded in the song fizzles out for me.

That said, Jesus Christ Superstar has been on the TV a couple of times when there was nothing else on, compelling me to more or less sit through it. There were a few fun bits, but as it was a musical and therefore so focused on the songs, I had a hard time following the story outside of the most obvious bits. Good singers and a few nice images on the stage, but too many distractions for me.

The second was 'Is she a Robot?' A one man show in a small independent theatre. It was quite strange, at one point the actor with a mattress strapped to his back literally walked over the audience and tried to do a back roll over my head. All that said I did enjoy it but probably wouldn't see either of them again.


Ah, the other type of theater I am not fond of. I remember taking a "creative expression" class right when I started theater as my minor, and while it certainly provides a key benefit to the beginner acting student, once that semester was done, I made a mad dash for the more traditional acting classes haha

Dong Zhou wrote:I do them intresting as they feel very different from, say, a film version. The very style of acting is different (what works for a film might not work for a player and so on)...


I was going to say, plays are a great venue for actors to go Large Ham or really chew the scenery and put on a memorable (for better or worse) performance.

I think plays are capable of drawing people in if 1) it is a good play, 2) possibly not old language, 3) the person is there already. The problem may well be getting the person there as either it feels elitist (not opera level but still "not for the likes of me") or amateur which has to shake off the stuffiness reputation and sneers about it being amateur. At least in my view expirence


The language is a good issue. I have enough experience with Shakespeare that I can follow along and catch a fair amount of the wit and in-jokes and such. But yeah, a casual would be like what the hell is this?

The elitist thing is weird. I guess that just comes with the territory of performance art.
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:28 am

Zyzyfer wrote:
Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww a musical. :lol:

I have issues with musicals being viewed in the same vein as a more traditional play. The story is told through song (and sometimes dance), so it's a completely different performance process. Honestly, whenever they break out into song in this type of performance, I feel a huge disconnect with the characters, it's like the actors are putting everything down to do a singing routine for a few minutes. Whatever influenced the sentiment embedded in the song fizzles out for me.


I understand that point of view but I would say there are 2 kinds of musicals. The airy fairy fun ones (like Joseph, Lion King etc) and your more intense ones which are my favourites like Les Mis and Blood Brothers. Have you seen either of them? If not I suggest you watch one of them and see if they change your view on musicals as a whole.
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:12 am

I have seen the 1998 movie, I believe. The story itself is great, but like I said, stopping to sing tends to upset my suspension of disbelief. Also saw that 2000s Phantom of the Opera, that was mostly good but not enough so to make me appreciate musicals more. I *did* enjoy the South Park movie, which was actually a musical! The songs were hilarious nonsense. Rock of Ages was fun but that was a case of good music, dumb story. And I think the musical format works fine with Disney films, actually.

It's just a personal preference in the end, I realize that many can appreciate them far more readily than I can. I just find it hard to agree with angry people bursting into song and happy people getting everyone on the sidewalk to join them for a dance number...
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:55 pm

Apparently I typed like a drunken howler monkey with my last post :oops:

The language is a good issue. I have enough experience with Shakespeare that I can follow along and catch a fair amount of the wit and in-jokes and such. But yeah, a casual would be like what the hell is this?

The elitist thing is weird. I guess that just comes with the territory of performance art.


Sometimes with the actors, it feels like they are thinking "what the hell is this"

I think over here it is various things making an image: Shakespeare (which is taught in a solemn way, no Brothels), London, olde language, rich people, not much laughs (not saying that is correct, just the image).

Zyzyfer wrote:It's just a personal preference in the end, I realize that many can appreciate them far more readily than I can. I just find it hard to agree with angry people bursting into song and happy people getting everyone on the sidewalk to join them for a dance number...


What kind of sad world do you live in where you don't do a random rumba and a song about love everything you go to town?

I agree musicals are a different skill-set to plays. Being able to sing for one but also to perform with voice and actions while singing to display the sadness or sensuality. Like plays, musicals character and tone can be altered per production.

I don't find the songs disruptive unless badly done. Disney was nice preparation and if the songs are good, fitted in well, I have enjoyed many a musical. The songs can be funny, romantic, sad, lustful and enhance the mood though I tend not to like dance routines without words. However I can see why, for others, it feels odd for sudden bursts of songs
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:23 am

Dong Zhou wrote:Sometimes with the actors, it feels like they are thinking "what the hell is this"


I was actually going to go on a small rant about actors! But then I felt like it was too tangential. Just curious, wonder what you meant by typing this?

I think over here it is various things making an image: Shakespeare (which is taught in a solemn way, no Brothels), London, olde language, rich people, not much laughs (not saying that is correct, just the image).


Shakespeare, not much laughing? I hope not, Shakespeare is hilarious. :cry:

I don't find the songs disruptive unless badly done. Disney was nice preparation and if the songs are good, fitted in well, I have enjoyed many a musical. The songs can be funny, romantic, sad, lustful and enhance the mood though I tend not to like dance routines without words. However I can see why, for others, it feels odd for sudden bursts of songs


Reading this, it made me think, subject matter rooted deeply in the fantasy medium actually lends itself to musicals rather well. Maybe the fact that animals and trees and creatures of fantasy are being personified as they are, that sort of thing, allows me to accept suddenly breaking into song haha.
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Oct 08, 2014 5:40 pm

Zyzyfer wrote:I was actually going to go on a small rant about actors! But then I felt like it was too tangential. Just curious, wonder what you meant by typing this?


Two things that can go wrong, specifically, with Shakespeare plays

1) The sense a member of the cast doesn't quite get it (which is what I was referring to). Either doesn't understand the words or doesn't feel them, concentrates on getting the words right but means little emotional power if any.

2) Reverence. Every line filled with importance and reverence as if taking High Mass. What should be a bawdy joke is treated and played as if a great piece of earth-shattering wisdom and must be treated with great solemn behaviour.

Shakespeare, not much laughing? I hope not, Shakespeare is hilarious. :cry:


I don't think I realized he could be funny (bar Laurence Oliver's hilariously bad Hamlet) till a few years ago. Most of the stuff I watched when younger was pretty serious (even the comedies), the BBC's modern mini-adaptations were funny at times but I put it down to BBC for modern audiences. I think it was seeing Henry IV set in a brothel and the cast going for those scenes with a sense of humour that made me realize
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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