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Nicole

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Jul 22, 2013
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As many of you may have expected, I did in fact decide to watch all of the Christmas Town shows in a single day, as the final installment of my self-imposed torture.  The drill was essentially the same, I watched every show that was officially listed with set times in a single day.  As usual, I anticipate there will be a lot of dissatisfaction with my conclusions.  If you are interested in my two previous reports for comparison, here are the links: Main Season and HOS.

On 07 Dec Zachary, Alpenghöst, Zimmy, Matthew, Applesauce, and I sat through all of the shows, except O Tannenbaum.  I caught that on 13 Dec, so I could include it, as well.

In what is a complete first, I didn't actively dislike any of the performances.  I attribute that change to the complete lack of cheesy dialogue.  In fact, I never once wrote, "Please shut up" in my notebook.  That is not to say that I loved any of them either, but with one notable exception, I could sit through all of the CT shows again.  Overall, most were mid-range "inoffensive" to me, and the order below is mostly based on which problems bothered me the most.  Nothing really stood out as something I would want to see again like Celtic Fyre or Igor's Fright Feast, but similarly, nothing was as bad as either Pet Shenanigans or Fiends either.

So, here are my rankings from my most to least favorite.


1. O Tannenbaum
Although I didn't like it as much as last year, and I still think the Crown Colony version is better, it was still my favorite CT show.  I love lights anyway, and watching them "dance" to the music is lovely, especially with a Cranberry Hot Toddy.


2. Scrooge No More
I won't say this show is perfect; it is far from it.  Because, however, BGW obviously just plagiarized Dickens, the script is easily the best I've ever heard in a park theater.  The only time I cringed was when Tinkerbell...I mean the Ghost of Christmas Past...started talking as if she were in a made for grade school play.  I kept expecting her to break the fourth wall completely and ask all of the kids in the audience, if they could help her find Scrooge. Besides having a superior script, the show also boasted an excellent lead, which is why after much deliberation I placed it second.

Being honest, however, there was a lot of weirdness taking place on that stage.  It was as if someone got stoned, read A Christmas Carol, and had a dream that he turned into a play.  Why is Tinkerbell the Ghost of Christmas past?  Why is some Dionysian-Jamaican guy the Ghost of Christmas Present?  Why was a Victorian pedestrian dressed up as a puppet show?  (Being uber-meta does not excuse that costume, sorry.)

The show does get points for NOT having any fabulous 4D effects, however.  That said, the sound was too loud, and once again, I was encouraged to do the Wave before the show started.  As I mentioned in my HOS review, I was sitting in the Globe Theater, not the Cap Center.  Overall, Scrooge was slightly less mediocre than CT’s other offerings.


3. Deck the Halls
I have heard complaints about Deck the Halls being too sexy and expected an experience like Fiends.  In fact, it was a fairly well-styled 1940s musical review.  Most of the costuming and song choices fit that theme fairly well.

Unsurprisingly, I do have some complaints, however.  While the choreography was well-executed, it was clearly dumbed and slowed down. In other words, while the dancers looked fine, they weren’t asked to do anything particularly difficult.  One section did perplex me, however.  The Toy Soldier scene made absolutely no sense.  For reasons I can not begin to fathom, instead of dancing like, rigid, wooden dolls (like every other toy soldier ever choreographed), they performed a random kick line.  I actually watched a video of the Rockettes Toy Soldier dance, and even they performed traditional hinged, stiff movements, with no Chorus Line-like choreography.  I was also disappointed in the tappers, who were not actually wearing tap shoes.  Unfortunately, their movements, while generally precise and clean, were not in synch with the taps in the soundtrack.

Moving on to the singers, I thought they were generally OK, but they had incredibly annoying, cheesy, Vegas smiles, and kept pointing at things like lounge singers.

Finally, I would like to ask the park to cut the creepy gingerbread men.  They make absolutely no sense in the context of the show, and they have been giving me nightmares.


4. Miracles
Where to start?  My understanding was that Miracles is supposed to be CT’s “dance show,” which makes me wonder why it had the worst dancing I saw all night.  I am unwilling to judge the dancers, themselves, for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that they may have been holding back, because of the weather.  No one should be asked to perform outside in 40 degree temperatures:  One pulled tendon can end a career.  Additionally, after seeing confetti being sprayed all over the stage, it is a wonder to me that the ballerina hasn’t broken her ankle, slipping en pointe.  I wonder if there are OSHA violations going on?

In any case, I am willing to discuss what I think of the choreography.  One word: “juvenile.” Actually that isn’t true.  It was also completely disconnected from the music.  And random. And repetitive.  In fact, the choreography was so bad, it completely distracted me from the singing.  I did notice some occasional shrieking, but generally cannot report on the vocal performances at all.

Back to the dancing....or whatever the people in white were doing.  The ballerina did almost nothing but bourrée around the stage for the entire show, while fluttering her arms like the Sugar Plum Fairy.  The contemporary dancers did a lot of hopping around the stage...at least when they weren’t playing tag or airplane or catch.  Also, someone needs to let the park know that Rhythmic Gymnastics is not in fact a school of dance.

Overall, Miracles was fine.  Not great, but not awful either.


5. Gloria
I want start by explaining that the religious content of the show had no effect -- positive or negative -- on my review.  And so we have come to the “one notable exception” I mentioned above.  While I do not hate Gloria, you could not pay me enough money to sit through it ever again.  I can experience tedious PowerPoint presentations anytime I want at work; I do not need to drive to BGW for the “pleasure.”

My main emotion during the performance was extreme boredom.  I have in my notes the following two comments, “only nine minutes in,” and “yay!  almost over?”  Sadly, I believe I was being optimistic the second time.  I recall checking my watch regularly, the way I do in particularly technical physics briefs...the ones in the 8 point font with the charts that barely fit on the screen.

Before I go into the mind-numbing awfulness that was most of the show, I want to highlight how good I thought the Three Wise Men were.  Sadly, I cannot say the same for the chick who stood on the stage yelling and pointing at two people standing in the aisles.  Unfortunately, because I found the visuals so distracting, I don’t have much else to add about the singers.

On that note, lets discuss the projections.  I guess they were meant to be “innovative?”  I generally found them puzzling.  Some parts felt like art history class, while others reminded me of that annoying neighbor who shows you 100s of pictures of her kids and most recent trip to Ireland.  I was also confused by the random images that were displayed.  I have been to the Middle East and there aren’t a lot of pastures and lakes.  And who were all of those random children and babies?

Despite being fairly bored and somewhat confused, I was not actively offended, until the end. I found the stereotyped church choir to be culturally insensitive, bordering on racist.  I honestly could not believe what I was watching.  At least it shocked me awake, I suppose.


Overall, Christmas Town was probably not a bad way to end my season of theatrical trauma.  None of the shows were physically painful, and I didn’t feel as if I needed a shower at the end of the night.  More importantly, I look forward to a 2015 season completely free of BGW stage productions.
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
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"Conclusion"??? You have a whole other park to do now! :p
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
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I thought Joe was already shrubbery analyst for KD? :(
 
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Joe said:
I thought Joe was already shrubbery analyst for KD? :(

what-happens-in-media-planning-donald-trump-youre-fired-gif.gif
 

Zimmy

Nessie is lonely.
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I was considering doing a tech out brief on this set. But it is not worth it. Tech was a mess everywhere and at this point I want to personally remove the damned projectors from the globe.
 

Zachary

BGW Eggspert
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Zimmy said:
that's not an entirely useful or well thought out statement.

I'm assuming you're referencing Griffon's post. May be best to quote it though to avoid misunderstandings. The post that was being referenced:

Griffon said:
that's not entirely accurate
 
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Apr 1, 2010
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David said:
Zimmy said:
I want to personally remove the damned projectors from the globe.

You're in luck! There's a position open for just the job!

Griffon said:
that's not entirely accurate

Any insider is welcome to correct anything I get wrong here.

Not to speak for Griffon, perhaps it's "not entirely accurate" because Entertainment and Theatrical Technicians do much more than "just the job" with the projectors. Show Op Techs operate the projectors and are a factor more than the installation. Also, physics probably has more to do with the blurred and double images than either the equipment or installation.

Event Installation works with Theatrical Services (TS). Theatrical Service Techs are the fine fellows, usually in black with backpacks and tools. Both work together installing and maintaining (electrical, mechanical, carpentry, lights, etc) event theming outside, like Wendigo Woods at HOS, not being handled by Oak Island. They also do inside some things like some Fiends or Night Beats set parts and lights not done by KBA. Both are skilled Jack of All Trades.

Show Op Techs are more specialized operators or controllers than they are "techs". Show Ops run their assigned job (lights, sounds, etc) and make minor repairs or adjustments only. Theatrical Service Techs are NOT Show Techs and likely would be mildly offended or amused to be labeled the same.

A combination of Theatrical Services and Show Op Techs helped with the Globe projection install. They are controlled by a Mac program called Catalyst which tiles and controls the images through the four projectors. The actual package was created by Sound Wave Technologies.

I understand the projections could be dialed in a little better depending on Show Op skill or will. However, the physics of four projectors on moving cloth backdrops or curtains with a proscenium and layered stage sets will always cause focal point issues and thus "blurry" results to varying degrees.

This probably belongs more in LR, MSoRR, or Globe realted threads. Oh, well.
"I look forward to your letters - Craig Ferguson"
 

Zimmy

Nessie is lonely.
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My issue has less to do with the execution as with the design. I do not fault the techs. They are doing the best they can with crappy design and instruments.

The projectors and the insistence of running follow spots from the rear flatten out the actors and destroy the dynamics of color. Projection is fine as an accent but is terrible when it is used nearly 100% of the time. LED parcans are harsh and ugly. Yes they save power and reduce the need for gell, blah blah blah. They look like shit.

Skrim is another accent device or perhaps single act device. It should never be used for an entire show.

BG has a very bad tendency to find a gimmick and continuously ram it down your throat.
 
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