Friday, September 24, 2010

Carmen…The Mopera

Written & Performed by Julie Goell
Directed by: Avner Eisenberg
Original Concept and Directions by Mark Ross

About 5 years ago or more I saw the original direction by Mark Ross here in NYC. Which from the program this show looks to be redirected by Avner Eisenberg. One important lesson we can learn from is what happens with long running Broadway and Off Broadway shows. Every 3 to 6 months sometimes a year or more the original director of the show comes back and takes a look at the show and puts back all of the original direction, because actors will make small changes that can evolve into big ones. They rarely bring in a new director unless the old director dies. When you have a show that has been directed and works, go back to your original director to put back all of the wonderful fresh elements that have been lost everyone once in a while. You know what they say about cooking; to many cooks spoil the broth. Having seen the show before – it looks like all life was sucked out of this new direction of the show. Julie is a wonderful musician – we saw none of her musicianship in the show. She plays I believe the base fiddle, which I recall, was in the show, it is not now. Everything was discovered in the old show… not now. I could not follow the show. Maybe if I was an opera fan I could have. Oh a note for everyone. Please do not do phony foreign accents. They rarely work and usually are insulting to the group you are doing the accent of. Julie knows foreign languages; if you know a foreign language and you need to use it use, do it if it works.

This new direction of the show starts with a toilet flushing sound effect, not once but three times. It was not funny any of these times. Scatology is great but it can burn you. Another thing is you have a toilet in the theater that when it flushes people in the house can hear it. There is a sign on the door – do not flush during the show or something like that – the theater toilet may have made this bit work.

The direction by Mark Ross – everything was discovered by Julie and you could easily follow the story. The Avner Eisenberg direction I could not follow the story and bits that did not work where stuck in littered through out the show that seemed to have nothing to do with the show. In the clown world almost any material can work – but one’s clown must be there totally. I have seen Julie teach wonderful prop manipulation classes – bringing props alive. In the Mark Ross verison all the prop where alive. Here all the props seemed to be just props. Solo shows are tough, really tough. You can have an off night and no one is there to help rescues you but you. Maybe Julie just had an off night. I know I have had a few. If one does not warm-up it can kill you. No matter what the setup one finds a place and time to warm-up. Shows can get tired, one can get tired of their own show. I have seen this with a few great performering friends. What you need to do to keep your show fresh and alive every show. You must do whatever that is, because people are honoring us with their time and money to see us entertain them. If you have a great director and the show is working. Keep your great director and go back to him or her every so often to help keep your show fresh.

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