Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hipster Pippin

People will futz with scripts. Try and update them. Point out what is more relevant in their day and age. But there will always be someone who does it heedlessly at the expense of the script. Today, that was Hipster Pippin. My day began with train delays where the hipster next to me entertained me. Beard, flannel, khaki pants, khaki merse, and Cormac Mcarthy novel. Funny. Helped me get through the train delay with a smile. Disney was closed by the time I got there, so I met Elizabeth for lunch and then headed over to Pippin. I love Pippin. Yes, it's "dated," but it's dated in the same way that Oklahoma is dated. The style doesn't belong to today's world. Musically, script wise, or dance wise, but it thematically is always relevant. It hits the heart of so many things. You can find so much in the script to bring to the forefront thematically that it can be fresh without comprising the original package. There is a reason every tenor wants to sing Corner of the Sky. A lot of times Shakespeare is done with a concept. But only the concepts that come from the script of the play work well. Even if you don't know exactly what the concept was, if it adheres to your key themes it should accomplish what you want. It should help invoke reactions. (Operas are normally really successful in this. Which is bizarre but awesome. If you can bring yourself to sit through the opera.) I want some of those outfits. Hahahaha. Love this song! This production, instead of bringing to light the themes that are relevant, was trying to update the material with a concept that was completely unsupported and not coming from the script. The script of the musical isn't just the book. It's also the music and the dance. It's a whole package. They were trying to make this rock and roll. Which is a very loose term. And odd thing to put on some soulful 70s tunes. What they meant, was Green Day-esque punk. It has it's place. It's been a guilty pleasure of mine before. It's place is not in Pippin. That doesn't go at all with the score. The dance combo was pedestrian (which is true of the original choreo and I like), overwrought, and just overall trying too hard. At one point, we went from shooting a gun with glee, then with apprehension, and finally horror. Put the gun in your for suicide and then be suddenly and slowly aroused by yourself and touch yourself for 32 counts. That many extremes that quickly is trying way too hard. Plus, there was no reason for it other than to shock. The music we used sounded nothing like Pippin. They wanted their chorus to also be the band. They are going to completely rewrite the score. Why not just do a different show then? American Idiot if you like Green Day. Spring Awakening has the angsty teenage sex themes and does it so well. If you don't want to do those, why not write a new show? You can play with that story line. It's older than a lot of dirt. No script is every truly original. From Shakespeare and beyond, writers write the stories that interested them. There are how many different versions of Taming of the Shrew. West Side is a departure from Romeo and Juliet, but it is so different and wonderful. Even the Scarlet Letter was recently played with to create a chick flick. It could actually a really cool, new, rock musical. There are so many other directions that you can take it when you don't already have a full realized show. There are other medieval monarchs and wars that would make a cool rock musicals as well. There's so many possibilities of something sweet and new in that line instead of just hashing and slashing at something old and well established. Chet Walker once told a crew of us in college that we shouldn't aspire to be the next Chita Rivera or the next Ben Vereen. We needed to aspire to be the best and next version of ourselves. Hokey but so true. And the hipster Pippin crew needed to hear that. They could be so much more! Off my soap box I come. This song is totally how I felt today. I need the Davies brothers and company to come give me a hand. Save me from bleeding artists!

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