Sunday, June 8, 2008

Drink Up, Me Hearties! Yo Ho!

Yesterday I went to see Pirates of Penzance put on by The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players at the New York City Center. I went with a BFF, both of us not really knowing anything about Pirates of Penzance. Pirates was one of FOUR G&S shows that are playing in repertory at City Center for a few weeks. These G&S Players must really LOVE G&S to be doing all these different shows at once. It's the same actors cast in all 4 shows. That's a lot of opera songs to keep straight in a two week period.

Pirates is a light, silly show but certainly requires of it singers with some considerable vocal prowess. Everyone in the show was very good. The production was fine although BFF and I both thought there was something a little bit missing that was hard to pinpoint. BFF thought that maybe it would've helped to see a more serious version of the show so that some of the gags they pulled weren't so jarring. I countered that I don't think you could find a "serious" Pirates, because the show seemed to be inherently light and comedic. BFF then thought that maybe it was just some of the gags themselves that fell flat because they were too contemporary and outside the world of the show. I think that hits it on the head. Not only were some of the sight gags out of the realm of the show, they were also a little easy. Like there's one point where all the policemen don Chorus Line-style sparkly top hats and do a kickline, and the audience mostly ate it up, but i kinda just thought "... really?" I wasn't quite sold on it. But other than those little things it was very enjoyable, lovely to listen to and funny. There was also this moment where these two young ladies were supposed to be playing badminton and it seemed like they had not adequately practiced, because they kept hitting the birdie way off course. At one point it flew way off stage and you could see crew members running after it, while the girls tried to improv something else to do with their rackets. They lost the birdie in different ways three or four times during the show. It was very funny.
This production also made me very curious about Gilbert & Sullivan and these Players who put on their works. How many shows are there anyway? How does one become a Player? These are questions to be investigated over the summer...

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