Tales of life and art. Theater, knitting, music, and pottery (and anything else I feel like writing about)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

of theatre and learnings...

Time for a content worthy post. Life is crazy, but it is time..

I'm rooting for Curtains at this weekend's Tony Awards. I've been a fan of Kander and Ebb's music for a long time, and while I haven't actually seen any of the current nominations, I have to pull for this show, as it is the last of their collaberations, since Mr Ebb sadly passed away in 2004. I like David Hyde Pierce from his Frasier days, and like the idea of the script, or at least what I know about it, so here I am rooting for them.

I have heard the cast recording of Spring Awakening, and selections from Gray Gardens, the forerunners in the musical competition, and neither excites me terribly at the moment. Especially since I have seen a staged production of the play Spring Awakening the musical is taken from, and am finding it hard to believe it is this "joyous" musical some of the critics have called it. I am looking forward to seeing their musical number to see though, maybe it will change my opinion. I've no doubt it will win some big awards, as the Drama Desks tend to be a fairly good Tony gage, although they include off-broadway, which the Tonys do not.

I'm a little annoyed that they won't be allowing any numbers from Legally Blonde to be performed, as apparently, you have to be nominated for the big "BEST" award to get to do musical numbers at the Tonys, and while Legally Blonde has been nominated for a number of awards, BEST new Musical is not one of them. (I'm sure it is a "fluff" show, but it could be a fun fluff show) Personally, as someone who loves theatre, but rarely gets to NYC but does attend touring productions, I'd rather see scenes from the plays, and musical numbers from ALL the shows that got significant numbers of nominations..(or at least nominations for best actor and actress and stuff like that as well even) It would inform me more about the shows and maybe get me to New York to actually SEE some of them. While I appreciate the actors and their speeches, I'd rather see the airtime go to the SHOWS. The network had similar ideas, and they are in a tiff with the Tony people over it. The network wants better ratings for the Tonys, which I certainly think this would help with. BUT.. They also need to realize theatre is a very specific market, and only a limited number of general Americans outside of the city have seen or even heard of most of these shows. (another argument for the scenes/musical numbers over the speeches-- raise their awareness and interest by showing this stuff...) They need to think about too, that for theatre people, in some ways the Tonys are treated like the "Superbowl." What I mean by that is, often times, it is an event that people get together to watch in groups, especially community theatre groups. The Tony website even promoted that until last year. They had places to talk about what you were doing for your Tony party. (I've done one myself most years for the last 8 years or so, I don't have the time this year to fool with it, but I will be watching) That needs to be taken into account when the network is looking at the ratings, parties mean perhaps fewer TVs tuned on, but that doesn't correlate to people necessarily. I'm not naieve enough to think that it has Superbowl level viewing, because it doesn't. But I'd venture to say the ratings show lower than the viewer count. This is such a niche market to begin with, but casual viewers might tune in if the numbers and scenes were there, over speeches by actors who by and large middle America doesn't know, sorry actors, that's the way it is unless you've done some film or TV work..(I'm a theatre geek and I'm pulling for David Hyde Pierce...).

Watch on Sunday and see for yourself. For more info on the Tonys and to see the nominations, you can visit: http://www.tonys.org

Okay changing topics now.

I went to a really great multi-day pottery workshop during the winter. I didn't feel like I got a ton out of the actual teaching at the time. I pushed myself to do some things I personally hadn't done before, but overall, didn't get a lot of "new teaching" since I had seen most of it before, even if I hadn't directly applied it. The instructor's work, I like a lot, but there are things about it, I'm just not going to do in my own, and that is ok. Part of what made it so great was the people, and the atmosphere, and getting away, and all that. Going into it I thought I could get a lot out of this instructor, and as it turned out I didn’t feel like I did, but not through any fault of his. But it was about pushing myself to the next level, which I felt like I did do, or started to at least, even if the techniques weren't new. See, where I generally work, I'm one of the better throwers, but my work is by no means, perfect. I still have a lot to learn. Here, I felt like I was one of the worst throwers, so there was the incentive to push yourself, and sometimes that is what it is about. (plus the clay we were using was very different to what I'm used to and I didn't like the results I was getting, still don't but using that clay has helped my throwing the stuff I do like.) The reason I bring this up, is that I've gotten some information on who may be teaching next year, and my informant considers this potter a "god" and I'm looking at their work on line and thinking, "Why?" I respect and value the informants opinion, and realize there may be something to it I'm not seeing in images on line rather than seeing it in person, but one thing I've learned over the years, is that there IS something to be learned here. Maybe there is, in fact MORE to be learned from this person whose work appeals to me overall less. Maybe there is something behind it or some technique that can be applied to my own work, that does take it to the next level, and keeps it from looking like this potter's work, since, I don't WANT my work to look like theirs anyway. What's the point in that? There are things to be learned. Guess I need to start saving my dollars to get back there next winter...


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