16 March 2010

The Theater is Perfect For Eavesdropping

If you're looking for a good place to nonchalantly eavesdrop on other people's conversations, the theater is perfect. In order to effectively eavesdrop on a dinner conversation in a restaurant, you would have to ignore your food or your date conversation. But when you sit down in your seat to watch a play, you just sit down in your seat, look at the performance bill, and wait for the lights to go down. Perfect situation for listening to your seat neighbors!

Scott is in a theater and media arts class in order to fulfil a GE for graduation. This is something that I often tease him for because he is not exactly the theater-going type, though I have forced him to come with me on more than one occasion because I am a huge fan of arts and culture. Well for his theater class he needed to attend a performance of BYU's production of Blood Wedding by Frederico Garcia Lorca . We went last Thursday and prepared ourselves for the amphitheater experience, as it was obvious from the stage set-up that we would be up close and personal with the actors, musicians, and dancers. As I was quietly sitting in my seat reading about the dramatic slow-motion knife fight that should occur mid-play, a chatting trio sat behind us.

They were talking about how they had come to Blood Wedding to watch one of the performers, the "flautist" actually. Then they mentioned how they were so excited to make faces at her all night, and that she would probably be laughing so hard that she wouldn't be able to perform. A sarcastic, "Yeesss!" came to mind - sarcastic because I'm not a fan of sitting in front of or behind obnoxious audience members. The worst though, is a teenager who thinks it funny to clap at odd times and intervals or make rude comments about performers to his neighbor. Too many Fine Arts Camp memories I guess...

Anyway, the play started and indeed the girls from behind were trying to make the flautist laugh. Even better, they were laughing during the most awkward silent moments of the play - like when the bride ran off on the day of her wedding with her former lover on horseback. Of course, since there wasn't a horse on campus, it was just the bride and her former lover at the top of the stage fake riding a horse into the distance (pictured below from the front, instead of from the side as we saw it). While I knew exactly what they were miming, even Scott said their stage galloping/gyrating was an awkward movement to observe.

Another piece of silence that was interrupted by laughing, and this time an additional snort of laughter, was the slow-motion knife fight. The bridegroom, having been abandoned by his bride for her former lover, chased them both down through the wilderness. When he found them bridegroom and former/present lover both drew their knives, and with Spanish tango flare, both abruptly raised their arms high above their heads with palm upwards. Laughter from the back trio.... the duelers stared at each other for quite some time before starting the choreographed movements of the fight. I almost thought they were going to laugh themselves, because they did look like they were holding back some emotion. Finally the girls realized that their laughter was breaking the dramatic silence, and the fight continued on... slowly... and both the bridegroom and lover died.

The play was very interesting and I think well acted, though I probably could have done without the snorting laughter from the audience. The contemporary dance seemed a little much for me too, but I think the script actually called for it. The message of the play was intriguing. Scott thought the moral was especially poignant for BYU students who get married too quickly without knowing what they are getting into. Obviously we aren't considering our one year of dating in the "too quick" category. Gotta love the theater!