Thursday, September 20, 2012

Next to Normal

“I am going to slip out to the theatre,” I said to Kelvin tonight.

 “Not the usual me, but ... that is what I am going to do."

"Sounds like you to me," he said.

Theatre Calgary in co-production with Citadel Theatre is presenting Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkley’s Next to Normal.

I didn’t know anything about the show, so I looked at a u-tube clip on the Theatre Calgary website, and I went to Wikipedia to read the précis of the show.

 I must have read in more detail than usual for a couple of days later I could still remember the literary references and allusions in the play (a reference to Sylvia Plath and another to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) ... and I could remember the fact that Next to Normal won the Pulitzer Prize for the best drama in 2010. In fact, it hadn’t been nominated, and the committee rejected all other nominations in favor of this play/musical.

The reviewer in the Calgary Herald put me off a bit – saying something like, it seems this play has forgotten that we go to musical theatre to forget ourselves and have fun. I suppose the reviewer is right, for this is a play about bipolar disorder and treatment and how that affects a woman and her family, so don't expect choruses of dancing girls.

Still, I enjoyed the play, at one point thinking, I must tell Lurene about this, because this is the first time I have noticed myself really being charmed by the orchestration, composed of a piano, an electric guitar, an electric bass, drums and percussion, a violin, keyboards and a cello.

A full rich sound.

Some of the tunes are hard rock – which I am not in love with. The beat was reminiscent of one in Love Never Dies, the song called “The Beauty of the Night” – you know that throbbing beat that stays on one note and seems to be pounding against the rest of the melody. But not all of the songs are like that. In fact, just a few.

In one duet, I was enjoying the tenor’s high falsetto line against the low alto line of the woman – so melodious, a moment when I was thinking, wow, this is really lovely. I could be sitting in London at this moment.

I went to book theatre tickets on-line yesterday, but I didn’t want to pay $100 for a seat (row U) that was at the back of the orchestra, so I held off going at all. Then on a whim after supper, I just hopped on the LRT and bought my ticket there.

I may have picked up that bad habit from Wyona.

While looking for a deal, I discovered that 10 minutes before the performance, Theatre Calgary sells all of their seats half-price with no guarantee that there will be any seats there.  (This is not true on pay-what-you-can peformances).

To amuse myself, I walked the halls for 30 minutes, thinking that at the worst, I would not get a ticket, but would still have topped up on my exercise.

 Lucky me. My row was D, my seat dead centre. The woman next to me whispered  when I sat down, “You got the best seat in the house. Mine is second best, but you are dead centre.”

I think I will try to slip back again next week. One viewing was not enough. The show ends Sept 30, 2012. You can see a clip for yourself at the Theatre Calgary website.


1 comment:

  1. What an intense show! I doubt it will make it to our local theatre in Salmon Arm this year. Maybe to TV? The cable guy just arrived and the cable is working now.