I had a local shoe repair place install the taps on my custom tap shoes. I had a sneaking suspicion they would fuck up the job. They assured me that their shoe guy knew what to do. (The place is a laundry: they send shoe repair jobs out.) They did fuck it up, but thankfully, not in a way that ruined the shoes. They installed the taps without the fiberboard backing. So, now I have to go out and get a set of replacement taps, argue with them to reimburse me for them, and argue with them to install them correctly for free. I’m pretty fucking pissed. I have been looking forward to dancing in these shoes for the last 12 weeks.
It had funny bits, a good bit or two, and a well-choreographed melee scene at the end. On the whole, however, I felt it was disjoint. They make references to other movies with ‘seven’ in them: “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”, and of course, “The Magnificent Seven”. They had bits from Shakespeare, they made self-references about getting grants to do the show, there was a sort of constant thread of theatre talk (samurai auditioning, samurai with other shows as conflicts). They used puppets, shadow puppets, and toys, which worked a little better than I expected. With only eight performers, I think they handled multiple roles quite well.
However, I suppose I expected something that was more strongly narrative. They did basically follow the plot from beginning to end, but there was a lot of random stuff tacked on that I felt interrupted the flow. I felt like a lot of the business was gimmicky, and that they could have contrived a way to serve the narrative with the prop play and other things. There were a few places where they did use, say, the projection above the stage to substitute dialog, which worked, but for the most part, the business was a distraction. I felt like there were no sustained scenes, and that they shied away from any attempt at holding any particular emotional moment.
Mat Whitecross, who co-directed “Road to Guantanamo”, wrote a good piece about the Bush administration’s use of doublespeak:
One of the less noted aspects of the Bush Administration's 'War on Terror' is the government's simultaneous War on Language, a calculated use of Orwellian double speak. Post 9-11, the invasion of other countries became a 'preemptive strike', the capture and torture of civilians 'extraordinary rendition'. A sign on the front of the US prison in Guantanamo Bay reads 'Honor Bound to Defend Freedom'.
Olivia, one of the assistant stage managers, took a great pic in the dressing room. Pictured are Jeff, who played Ko-Ko the Lord High Executioner on closing night, myself, and David I. who played Pooh-Bah. The others are here.
I have pix from the cast party which I will post later. I think this was the most fun group I’ve done a show with. There were a lot of people for whom this was their first Footlight Club show, but everyone was very nice and fun to hang out with. I’m a bit sad the show is over: it was my social life for most of the last 10 weeks or so. But, it’s not all over, yet. Some of the cast are brewing trouble which I will take part in.