(Pictures still aren’t working. 😦 )
Today I saw The Little Mermaid at the Fox, and it was pretty great. (Even if Sebastian and Ursula stole the show.)
The show itself had some pretty innovative aspects to it which I found really neat and interesting. The characters would “swim” by being suspended from wires, and their “tails” had long flowy sheets that connected to their hands. Under the Sea was by far the best musical number. There were a bunch of dancers dressed in elaborate, exotic costumes, and some people were manipulating huge puppets with schools of fish and gigantic jelly fish. To switch from sea to land, they would have characters swim with wires up to the top and then disappear and a double would appear back on the stage in a land setting. (Eventually the scene would set up and the double would switch out again.)
As an actress, I can sometimes get nick-picky with performances (my aunts are even more intense about it though). Sometimes that is because of the acting. (Like I said, Sebastian and Ursula stole the show, but Arial and Eric didn’t appeal to me very much.) Other times I will notice things happening and be able to tell how they were pulling off the illusion. And occasionally I will just get slightly irritated because they didn’t quite follow the story. (The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite Disney movies, possibly 2nd favorite, or tied with Tangled and Frozen, (I’ve been avoiding picking), so seeing this as a musical was a big deal for me.)
I’ve seen the movie so many times that it doesn’t feel right when it is changed. This goes for a lot of things; once something has been done the same way for a large number of times it feels wrong when it isn’t the exact same way. For me Capon (my trip in West Virginia) and Christmas come to mind. For my family, these are like sacred cows; they don’t change from year to year. Sure there may be slight differences, but the general concept remains the same.
However, I’ve come to realize that stories aren’t, and maybe shouldn’t, be like that. Stories get passed on from generation to generation, and every time you hear it, the story is a little different.
I wondered today, maybe that is why I love the theater so much. You can see the same production a million times, but each time will be slightly different. Stories are effected by variables. They are subject to the environment around them. Some times the story teller might not be in the best mood, or maybe the timing ins’t just right, or maybe the story teller is full of energy more then ever before and the characters work brilliantly with one another.
The stage version of The Little Mermaid was not the same as the movie. There were new songs, characters were developed more and some less, and the ending was completely different. But that is how these story tellers told their story.
Some of my fellow troop members and I (I saw this with my Girl Scout Troop) discussed what we liked and didn’t like about this new story, and some of the things we noticed about the production. My troop leader then said that since she is older and hasn’t seen it a million times, she didn’t have to pick it apart and thus ruin the magic of it.
I don’t think the magic was ruined. I personally love knowing how they do what they do because to me it becomes more magical to know how much work is put into the show, and then I can judge how well they pull it off as well. It is really fascinating. Knowing gives you the ability to imagine all of the little behind the scenes things happening, and it allows you to appreciate all of it.
Story telling is magical because you will get a new story every time. But I do wonder, with movies the story stays the same every time. I originally said how it bugged me to see the story changed, but if it hadn’t been a movie first, I wouldn’t know any better.
So no, I don’t think that me picking apart and examining the production made it loose some of the magic, but perhaps, just maybe, it being a movie, done the same way every time, did.
(I just thought I would point out that I didn’t know what I was going to write about exactly today, but I knew it would be about The Little Mermaid. I was also on a time crunch since we got back late; therefore, I decided to just start typing. So this post actually evolved and developed while I was righting it. (To some extent.) The more I typed, the more I realized and observed, and you may be able to tell from my writing itself, so I thought I would explain why.)