Monday, November 20, 2006
I saw Aida this weekend- not the Broadway version, but a professional touring production. It was terrible. Maybe had I not seen the Broadway production, twice, I would have enjoyed this version if for nothing else but the music. The singers were good, but that is all they were- singers. A show such as Aida has to have an emotional arch- without out it, you really don't care about the ending (I won't be specific in case you haven't seen it, I don't want to spoil it for you). I think what disturbed me most was the actual physical production. The set was this large metal looking box with a balcony across the top and a door below the balcony. The costumes were even worse. Servants wore strange looking green feed sacks and Aida wore the same thing from the moment we first saw her until the end. They really screwed up the style of the show, I don't think they had a clear concept of where they were going. The Pharoah wore a traditional and historically correct Egyptian robe while his soldiers wore green army coats and carried machine guns. It is ok to set a show in a different period- just be consistant. I imagine they were trying to be "artsy". Some charters wore blue jeans and modern looking hats while standing beside someone dressed in an Egyptian Chiton. Really irritating. They also took some scenes out of context. One scene that is supposed to be performed as women waching laundry on the river bank became a group of servants polishing the floors of the palace complete with yellow mop buckets with "caution wet floor" written on the side- like you see being used in the cafeteria. That is just one example of many- don't even get me started with the "Another Pyramid" number. I'm still trying to figure that one out. The relationship between Aida and Radames was so horribly done that you didn't even believe they came close to loving one another. It was if they were saying each other was scum and the very next moment how much they loved one another. You may argue that often people who are in love fight with one another in order to resist those feelings. Not in this play. The audience has to see the gradual connection or it doesn't support the songs. All in all, I am happy to have experienced the real Aida. If I hadn't I might not like this show very much right now. I often go to things in order to get ideas, to see what we can steal adn do with some cradboard and duct tape. This time I got nothing, but I did enjoy getting away from being bombarded with people. Every now and then you need to get away from the toils of knowing and seeing everyone on the street around you and be surrounded by strangers.