Monday, May 7, 2012

Sound of Music

Where do I even begin to talk about this?  Hmmm.....

Okay, here's what our kids did.  Annabeth played a nun,
as did Thalia.

Thalia's main role, though, was as Elsa Schraeder.
Everyone comments about the hat.  She found it at an estate sale several months back, and bought it thinking it would be perfect if she ever plays Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in The Music Man.  But then when she was cast in Sound of Music as Elsa, which she didn't want to do because she'd never auditioned for the part, she took comfort in using her outrageous hat.

In the stage performance, Max and Elsa sing How Can Love Survive.  In our version Georg Von Trapp joined in to make it a flirty little song.  This gave Von Trapp a bigger role, which was great because he was the best performer of the bunch and will be graduating this year (and it was really stupid to pick a play that relegated him to a bit part with songs that weren't in his best vocal range).(He also learned to play the guitar just so he could sing Eidelweiss while realistically accompanying himself in that scene - he's just that cool.)
As a matter of fact, they did so well with the general flirting in their scenes that someone asked them later if they were actually dating in real life.

The ball gown I made from Simplicity 2252.  The tulle poof was a little squished by the second night. You can enlarge these pictures by clicking on them, if needed.

Thalia's favorite outfit was in the second act.

Elsa, Max, and Captain Von Trapp sing There's No Way to Stop It in this scene.  Elsa was supposed to go down to, I think, the G for the final note, but forgot and took it up to the B (which she nailed).  If here voice teacher had been there he would've high-fived her.

She was also the woman at the festival who won't stop bowing.

These are the cloaks and knapsacks I made.  The stage was very dark in this scene (abbey gardens hiding from Nazis).  Note that I really thought about how those kids could get the cloaks on and off quickly, and designed fasteners accordingly.  I used large toggle buttons on one side, and 1/4 inch elastic looped on the other; both were backed with other fabric so they didn't rip the cloak fabric during quick changes.  I didn't have black elastic, so I colored white elastic with markers, which turned out to not work that well, but for 5 minutes on a dark stage it was okay.

There were some other costume snafus during the tech week rehearsals, and even during the shows.  For example, stick on velcro had been used several places.  Stick on velcro rips right off when someone's in a hurry - it really must be sewn on. It was one of those things I could've told them if they'd asked, but no one asked.  Also, itsy bitsy hooks and eyes don't work up the back of a dress during a quick change in the dark.  Etc. Live and learn, I guess.

Picture of final bows.  Thalia's hair is just hanging down because at this point she's been 3 different characters in the past 5 minutes, complete with total outfit changes.

Aside from having too many costume changes for a cast of this experience (forcing them to concentrate on messing with their clothes rather than learning the fundamentals of acting and singing their parts), the production had a boatload of pieces for the sets.  Thalia and Annabeth are part of the crew and helped build them, plus Thalia spent an entire day sewing curtains and pillows (only accomplishing a tiny portion of what needed to be done).  When Annabeth wasn't nunning at the beginning and end of the musical she worked as a stage hand.

A few of the sets -- I swiped these pictures from facebook, ahem.  The abbey.  I think the rose window gobo was a brilliant idea since it gave the appropriate feel without having to mess with building other stuff.  Those are the mountains in that background, by the way.
 The Von Trapp mansion.
 Maria's bedroom.
I'm missing the Mother Abbess' office, and the gazebo, and the mansion gardens (although you can see the latter in the background of some of the shots of Elsa/Thalia above).

Overall the production seemed ... amateur.  Well, duh, of course it was since these are just kids.  But this group did Charlie Brown last year, and that was absolutely magical.  But, hey, THAT was well chosen for the talent available, well cast, they didn't spend hours figuring out costumes and scenery to the detriment of working on the acting and singing. THIS entire production was a mistake from the beginning.  Other than a handful of bright spots, it looked like a middle school production.

Of the two nights, the first night, Friday, was marginally better.  Saturday night had more technical glitches, and the overall energy had gone downhill.  Von Trapp's performance Saturday was better, as was Max's.   The scenes with Von Trapp, Max, and Elsa absolutely lit up the stage both nights.  And there were other nice performances by the supporting cast both nights -- Liesl and Rolf, for example, and Mother Abbess singing Favorite Things.  

Conversation on the way to choir Sunday: "It's really a long show for Maria.  Sheesh, if you'd gotten the part [please note that Thalia DID NOT WANT THE PART] Mr. Voice Teacher would've immediately started you on an Olympic training routine to get you ready for 3 hours of singing."

"Yeah, it's sort of like at the end of the day at a feis when your foot hurts and you're tired and you hate everyone and want to go home, but you have to get up there and pretend to be energetic and love to dance." (Yet another reminder of how the conditions of competitive Irish Dance prepares you for so many other things in life.)

Once again I'm left wondering if I should hit the "publish" button.  Have I said too much?  I don't want to make hurtful comments here - the people involved are genuinely nice and well-meaning.  But, heck, this is the soft, gentle, extremely edited version of my thoughts.  Thalia also commented that she has the advantage of being able to complain with her peers about many aspects of this entire adventure, but I only have a bunch of parents who seemed determined to coo about how well their kids did (egads, people, they could've done so much better in different circumstances -- we had a great director, some good talent, willing volunteers who spent hours on behind the scenes work ... aaaaaaargh!).

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