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Least Favorite Sondheim Show 
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So we all know my complaining of Pacific Overtures in the OP has completely 180'd...

Passion's the only one left.

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Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:43 pm
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Sweeney Todd.....
















































PUNKED!

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Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:04 pm
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Post Re: PASSION
Salome wrote:
Also, don't you love how RainbowJude, even in the minority, thinks that his opinion on Passion should be everyone's? I've seen 3 productions including the OBC and even though the cast, especially Murphy, Mazzie and Aldredge were outstanding, it's far from his most engaging show emotionally or intellectually.

If I was truly in the minority, Passion would not have ended up placing 6th (with an average placement of 4) in our little Top Ten Musicals of the 1990s poll. On another board, in the same poll, Passion placed 2nd. It's a show of immense emotional depth and intellect.

LeocadiaBegbick wrote:
I have seen the show twice and tried to engage in it but I think it is a poorly written show. I think it has the potential to be an extremely moving show but does not strike the emotional vein that it should. The characters do not blossom, the main character is problematic and the dull, plodding music restricts the show from soaring.

The music is not dull or plodding. The composition is immensely sophisticated is not compartmentalised into extractable or easily singable songs. It's phenomenally rich in its use of motifs to develop both narrative and character. Emotionally, it tonally expresses the thematic concerns of the piece: the nature and meaning of love, and the thin line between passion and obsession. It's dark and brooding and brilliant.

As to your gauche attempt at discussing character development, if you are unable to see that the show is structured around the asymmetrical development of Fosca and Giorgio, then the credibility of your theatre literacy is called into question for me. One can't simply reduce the idea of character development in Passion to the simple concept of "characters blossoming". Character development in the show is far more complex: one character grows; the other decays and both are changed. This is obvious in even the most basic narrative reading of the material.

As I've said before, people use the fact that the score is complex and therefore less accessible than something like Oklahoma! to dismiss Passion. However, I think this is an easy way out, an excuse that belies a reason, for Passion forces people to confront an idea too close to their hearts to a greater extent than any other Sondheim musical. It's easy to to look at Into the Woods and separate oneself from the characters even if there common human motivations behind their extreme actions. The concept and structure of the show distance one from too intensely personal an engagement, even though one is able to empathise with the characters and what occurs within the scope of the narrative. In contrast, it's disquieting how easily one can see something of oneself in Fosca, as broken in her soul as she is in her body. You can distance yourself from Sweeney Todd, but in order to engage fully with Passion, you need to be willing to confront something very real and very private. Sondheim and Lapine challenge conventional ideas about the relationship between love, passion and obsession from three perspectives: what people expect them to be, what they truly are and what they have the potential to become.

To engage with Passion in a profound manner is a harrowing, albeit brilliant and ultimately rewarding, experience. You have to be emotionally ready for that experience, otherwise casting the show aside (or dismissing it as something that is neither emotionally nor intellectually engaging) is easy.

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Last edited by RainbowJude on Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:13 am, edited 7 times in total.



Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:42 pm
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Quote:
Passion forces people to confront an idea too close to their hearts to a greater extent than any other Sondheim musical.


My dislike of the musical has nothing to do with an inability to confront the "idea" of the show. I find the musical problematic in the way it executes that idea. The idea itself is, as you said, extremely personal and requires a high level of emotional honesty in order to appreciate.

I think that the show executes that highly personal idea in a highly impersonal manner. But perhaps you are too limited to understand that a person can disagree with your assessment of a musical without "lacking emotional depth."


Quote:
The music is not dull or plodding. The composition is immensely sophisticated is not compartmentalised into extractable or easily singable songs. It's phenomenally rich in its use of motifs to develop both narrative and character. Emotionally, it tonally expresses the thematic concerns of the piece: the nature and meaning of love, and the thin line between passion and obsession. It's dark and brooding and brilliant.



Well for someone who is so concerned about audience contact, the score certainly distances itself from the audience. Also, sophisticated is not necessarily better. We can all agree that a score to a musical does not need to be easily compartmentalized or "singable" in order to be good, but a score that is sophisticated for the sake of being sophisticated but does not soar or grab the audience is not going to serve the play well. Being technically well structured and sophisticated isn't enough to make it a good score.



Quote:
As to your gauche attempt at discussing character development, if you are unable to see that the show is structured around the asymmetrical development of Fosca and Giorgio, then the credibility of your theatre literacy is called into question for me. One character grows, the other decays decays and both are changed. This is obvious in even the most basic narrative reading of the material.



I did not say that Lapine and Sondheim did not make attempts at good characterization, or that neither of the characters change. Please don't attempt to make conclusions about what I'm saying before understanding what I'm actually trying to say. The effort is there and I applaud them for it, but Fosca's character is quite simply too caved in and engulfed in self-pity for us to be able to sympathize with her story. I honestly believe that it is a story that could have the potential to make a wonderful musical, but Fosca's complete annoyingness encumbers her. It's just that Fosca is such a weak, negative person, it stands in the way of her being able to really reach to the audience.


Also, accusing someone of being "gauche" simply because they don't happen agree with your opinion on a show is incredibly arrogant and pretentious. Rudeness is not necessary.





Quote:
You have to be emotionally ready for that experience, otherwise casting the show aside (or dismissing it as something that is neither emotionally nor intellectually engaging) is easy.


I am certainly open and emotionally ready for that kind of experience, but I don't think Passion succeeds in offering it.


Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:25 am
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Post More PASSION....
LeocadiaBegbick wrote:
[T]he score certainly distances itself from the audience. Also, sophisticated is not necessarily better. We can all agree that a score to a musical does not need to be easily compartmentalized or "singable" in order to be good, but a score that is sophisticated for the sake of being sophisticated but does not soar or grab the audience is not going to serve the play well. Being technically well structured and sophisticated isn't enough to make it a good score....

I am certainly open and emotionally ready for that kind of experience, but I don't think Passion succeeds in offering it.

So leave emotions out of it then. Any objective assessment of the score of Passion that says the music doesn't soar actually hasn't evaluated it for what it is. Furthermore, the score of Passion is far from being sophisticated without purpose; it is inherently it is linked to the narrative or how it fully embodies the themes of the piece.

There's a difference between disliking a show, which is about opinion, and looking at a show in terms of its dramaturgy, which is something that exists objectively to some extent, which is a point on which I think we differ. If you don't like the show because it's not to your taste, that's fine and that's a completely different story. But what critical framework(s) or methods of analysis are you using to examine the show as a piece of musical theatre that support an argument that the show is badly written? If you could provide an well-supported counter-argument along those lines, I certainly would at the very least accept it as valid, even if I didn't agree with it. As it stands, your argument is built on a foundation on sand.

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Last edited by RainbowJude on Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:02 am, edited 6 times in total.



Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:41 pm
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Post 
Quote:
Your argument is built on a foundation on sand.



And your argument is built on... nothing. All you seem interested in is proving that everyone who disagrees with you is wrong, hence the rudeness. I'm not even going to bother discussing this any more, seeing as you don't seem to posess the ability to approach a topic with an open mind and treat the person you're talking to with respect. Goodness, you're a director? I feel sorry for your actors.


Seriously. It's unbelievable how pretentious and arrogant a lot of the people on this board are.


Sat Jun 27, 2009 8:18 am
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Post Nope, sorry...
LeocadiaBegbick wrote:
I'm not even going to bother discussing this any more, seeing as you don't seem to possess the ability to approach a topic with an open mind and treat the person you're talking to with respect.

What on earth makes you think you're entitled to my respect? I've got news for you, honey. Respect is earned. I respect a lot of people on this board, people who can actually think beyond themselves and are able to discuss musical theatre knowledgeably, lucidly and objectively. You clearly aren't one of them.

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Last edited by RainbowJude on Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:49 am, edited 3 times in total.



Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:16 am
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Quote:
What on earth makes you think you're entitled to my respect? I've got news for you, honey. Respect is earned. I respect a lot of people on this board, people who can actually think beyond themselves and are able to discuss musical theatre knowledgeably, lucidly and objectively. You clearly aren't one of them.


If that's the attitude you've got, I've got news for you, cupcake... you aren't going to make it very far in show business.


Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:48 am
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Post Thanks, but no thanks...
LeocadiaBegbick wrote:
If that's the attitude you've got, I've got news for you, cupcake... you aren't going to make it very far in show business.

I don't need your advice, thanks. I'm an award-winning writer, composer, actor, director, producer, teacher and academic and I am never short on commissions or projects.

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Last edited by RainbowJude on Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:50 am, edited 3 times in total.



Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:08 am
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Quote:
I'm an award-winning writer, composer, actor, director, producer, teacher and academic and I am never short of commissions or projects.


ROTFL!!!

Yeah, and I'm Elton John :roll:


Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:11 am
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Post Meh...
I don't really care if you believe me or not. I don't need your approval or your blessing.

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Last edited by RainbowJude on Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:50 am, edited 3 times in total.



Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:17 am
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Lol. I love how you choose to read what people say the way you want to see it. That, or the concept of sarcasm is completely new to you...


Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:24 am
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