Friday, December 06, 2013

Critique of The Sound of Music

Curiosity drew me to watch the live TV adaption of the play, Sound of Music last night. I enjoyed it because I went in with an open mind and not expectation of perfection. The performers took on a big challenge. Unlike movies, or even most television shows, there would be no retakes.
Unlike live ‘in the theatre’ plays there was no audience to add energy or sound bites, like laughter, sighs, and applause and because of these limitations, jokes fell flat, songs were not lifted high with clapping. The receiver of the joke could not laugh, as he was to remain serious, and no audience could add the much needed, ‘we get it chuckle’ in the awkward pause. This lack of energy showed in the dialogue scenes the most. The singing voices soared above this obstacle.
Despite the limitations, this playing to an empty studio could not overcome, I found myself cheering on the efforts, and I’ve been surprised at the animosity flung at this troupe for daring to try something new. Since when did Americans become such negative people? This production gave me the chance to form a new appreciation of musical theatre in the comfort of my own home.
In the past, with many musicals, I found myself thinking, “it seems awkward for that character to be bursting into song at such a serious moment”. Even, the movie, Sound of Music, made me feel that way. It may be just me, but it’s something that disrupted the flow in the story more often than I cared for. After this show, I realized I had welcomed each song. They all felt needed and important.
My favorite thing about the whole evening is how in this live TV production, the dialogue cradled the songs, allowed the songs to be the shining moments, the stars of the play. Perhaps, that is what Rogers and Hammerstein meant when they wrote it. It is titled, The Sound of Music.