If you count high school productions, you can count on two fingers the amount of musicals I've seen in my life; if you ban the high school performances, the number is just one: last season's Two Gentlemen of Verona at CenterStage. I liked it. It was a rock musical with a lot of influence from the 1970s, a musical era I like, and the musical updated a Shakespeare play with an anti-war message. I dug it.
Tonight, though, I was reminded why I have always shied away from the genre. Once On This Island is the epitome of everything bad about musicals - cartoonish acting, the inability for the audience (or at least me) to suspend disbelief as to why these people are singing instead of talking, songs without hooks, a lack of a plot. I've always heard that a characters in a musical should give the audience the impression that there's so much emotion built within them that they have no choice but to sing; here, I didn't get the impression at all. It felt like it was designed for elementary aged kids. It was torture. I literally stared at the wall.
At the intermission, I looked to my three friends for agreement. I got none of it. Apparently, I was the only one who didn't like it. "They're so talented," one of my friends said. I don't care if they are talented (and they were, except the crazy long-haired man playing the devil) if the show is crap. My friend, the music teacher, said, "Their music is phenomenal. Such artistry." Frankly, I didn't much care for it. The music was monotonous to me.
Anyhow, I left at intermission. I couldn't bear the thought of staying in that audience for another hour. The problem was, we parked at The Charles and ate at Tapas Teatro, and it's quite a walk from Center Stage to The Charles. I was going to take a cab. Until I realized what a beautiful night it was. I just strolled up Charles Street, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, and made my way home.
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