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Shannon

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December 29th, 2008


12:48 am - Random thoughts
Random thought #1:
I think I'm going to like LJ. It seems to be more 'welcoming' than a lot of blogging/networking sites, and perhaps easier to find people who share your interests and actually want to discuss them. :)

Random thought #2:
The Dr. Horrible dvd is awesome!!! The special features are fantastic, & I love the fact that now I can watch it on more than just my computer/iPod. (Is it sad that I've already watched it through about three times? Once w/my best friend, to listen to the regular commentary, & a couple times on my own, haha...) And it's still great every time - I don't think it's ever getting old!

Random thought #3:
Grrr...still can't believe HP & the HBP movie won't be out until July. It looks amazing! Ah, well. Can't have everything you want, I suppose. (And I have Dr. Horrible & other great 'nerd stuff' to tide me over until then, right? The new Star Trek movie looks like it'll be great, too, actually. On the nerd note.)

Random thought #4:
I bought some new little speakers for my computer with some of my Christmas money, & it's amazing what a difference they make in terms of the quality of the sound output. (I was just using the speakers in the monitor.) I didn't get anything fancy - basically, the cheapest ones w/a subwoofer that I could find. But they rock! (No more buzzing at higher levels of sound/frequency! And greatly improved clarity...)

Random thought #5:
Dr. Pepper is awesome. :P (I'm using 'awesome' a lot lately. Probably because of watching too much HIMYM...but it's always been one of my favorite words.) Anyway, that's about all I had. Just wanted to write something fun, & those were the first few things off the top of my head!
Current Mood: mellowmellow
Current Music: Rent

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December 27th, 2008


02:43 am - The Fantasticks
I've always loved musicals, and singing, but I'm shy, and have pretty bad stage fright. Two years ago, I worked up the nerve to audition for The Fantasticks at my local community theatre. I was cast as Luisa, & it was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. (Seriously, there's nothing like live theatre.) It was so much fun! I was still nervous, but it was awesome. It inspired me to take an acting class, & try to become more involved with the theatre. Anyway, here are the videos of "Much More" & "Metaphor" from that show...if you happen to read this entry, please watch & let me know what you think! (And forgive me - I know I'm an amateur - I'd done a few solos, but had never spoken onstage before doing this role!)

"Much More":


"Metaphor":


One other random note: I'm exceedingly happy at the current moment, because I put the Dr. Horrible dvd at the top of my wish list, & come Christmas, no dvd. (Some wonderful presents, just not that one.) But tonight, my best friend surprised me with a copy! Yay. :)
Current Mood: nerdy

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December 20th, 2008


12:43 am - Musical theatre
I love musicals.  Especially great musicals performed well...(good musicals performed badly, however, can be pretty painful).  In my opinion, there's almost nothing better (or at least more entertaining, energizing, and emotionally moving) than musical theatre.  (Non-musical theatre is pretty good, too!)  And it frustrates me to no end sometimes how little the art is appreciated.  I'm no expert, by any means.  But I think it's definitely an art, and a challenging art at that.

I took an acting class during college, and my professor commented that out of all of the performing arts, musical theatre was the one in which the performer took the most risk, and put the most of him/herself out there to be judged.  You're completely exposed as a person & as a performer.  And that's scary!  People don't like to be that exposed, especially when their performance will be evaluated so intensely by their audience.  And there's so many things to judge in a musical theatre performance that it will be scrutinized by anyone who sees it.  The singing (possibly dancing), diction, pronunciation, word emphasis, intonation, pitch, energy level, emotional tone, character portrayal, overall delivery...and on top of doing all of that well, a performer also has to remember their blocking, lines, their character's psychological/emotional/mental progression, current/past/future relationship to the other characters/performers on stage, etc.  There are so many factors that once you start thinking about it, it's mind-boggling.  (It's been a couple years since I've taken the class, but I think I'm remembering the gist of that correctly.  It made a deep impression on me.)  Straight (non-musical, I mean) theatre has many of those factors as well.  (Both types have their own challenges.)  And the thing is, if you hold back when performing a musical, it loses its magic.  (And the audience knows it.)  You become self-conscious and your performance loses energy.

A friend & I were discussing this issue the other day, & he suggested that maybe that's why musical theatre doesn't always appeal to people - because they haven't seen how great it can be.  (Perhaps they've only seen average performers, doing an average show.)  It's hard when it's not live, too.  With live theatre, you're right there - you can almost feel the energy from the performance, and it's not just a recording (whether audio or video).  He also suggested it's because our society has become so cynical, we're no longer willing to buy into the magic.  I've actually heard people say that they'd enjoy <musical such & such> more if there wasn't so much singing.  (I've also read that in reviews for various movie musicals.)  It's difficult for me to understand sometimes.  Most of the time, (at least in most musicals post-"Oklahoma!") the movie doesn't just grind to a halt while everyone does a musical number.  They advance the plot, character development, etc, in a way that not many theatrical devices can.  I remember reading a book once that said in a musical, a character's motivation for bursting into song is because they're feeling so much of an emotion that it can no longer be conveyed simply by speaking - they have to sing.

I'm probably preaching to the choir here (if there even is a choir I'm preaching to - there's obviously no guarantee anyone will ever read this!) - but my point is, think about some of the most emotionally moving moments in musical theatre.  (Stage or movie, really makes no difference on this point...)  Would they be as effective if they were spoken instead of sung?  Just for an example, I'll use Les Miserables - partially because it's chock full of moments like that!  "Do You Hear the People Sing," "One Day More," - both incredibly uplifting (some of the *only* uplifting moments in Les Mis, but hey...), "I Dreamed a Dream," "On My Own," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" - conveying the despair/sorrow of the characters very effectively.

"Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" in particular...I mean, the song starts off with "There's a grief that can't be spoken"!  Meaning the character's pain is so great he can't express it simply by talking about it.  

With "I Dreamed a Dream" - the song starts off with a line sung on the same pitch, until it reaches a point where the character breaks down:  "There was a time when men were kind, when their voices were soft, and their words inviting...there was a time when love was blind, and the world was a song, and the song was exciting...there was a time...then it all went wrong."  It's a beautiful line, and would be moving whether it was sung or not.  But having the pitch go up on "all" gives the line more emotional depth (in my opinion).

I might also add at this point that I've still never seen Les Miserables live, & it's still incredibly moving to me.  (Just watching the 10th Anniversary Concert gives me chills - of course, it is the 'Dream Cast...")  :D

The flip side of all of this is that if you have a decent singer doing the song that doesn't attempt to convey the emotion of what the character's feeling, then it isn't nearly as powerful.  Having a pretty voice doesn't make someone a great musical theatre performer.  Certainly helps!  But there's more to it than that.  (This would be where the acting half of musical theatre comes into play.)  I apologize - I'm not trying to lecture here - anyone still reading at this point knows all of this already.  It's more just getting some thoughts off my chest.

My bottom line is that most people don't think about all this - they hear 'musical theatre' & think 'fluff' or something.  I just wish they'd give it a chance!  (And the genre is so varied that you'd think there'd be at least one musical out there for everyone.)  Anyway, I'd best stop rambling before this entry gets too long.  Hope anyone reading this has a wonderful day/night/week/etc!  :)


Current Mood: curiouscurious

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December 14th, 2008


03:06 am - 2009 (almost)

It's almost a new year.  That's as good an excuse as any to try livejournal, right?  (And my New Year's Resolution for 2009 is...'actually try to maintain a blog, for longer than six months!'  Or something.)  I was curious about it, so I figured, why not give it a shot?  I enjoy blogging from time to time, though I have a tendency to start rambling.  And I enjoy finding 'communities' of people who share my interests, and with whom I can talk about those interests.  (Oh, & forgive me if the grammar on that last sentence was atrocious - I'm a bit tired.)

Anyway, we'll see how this goes! :)
Current Mood: tiredtired

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