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Archive for April 2013

24-hour musicals with no sleep

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It was great to take a recess break from Bangladesh and Boston news to see One Night Stand, a documentary about the making of the 24-hour musical. This deeply   euphoric film takes us on a back stage journey of this yearly show. It’s scary watching  composers and lyricists try and come up with plots and songs in barely eight hours. Watching  them sweat the process, hitting creative blocks and then standing up straight is like watching a blind ski team…anything can happen before they reach their six am finishing line.

Then the actors show up… talents like Cheyenne Jackson, Nellie McKay, Richard Kind and Rachel Dratch, getting their scripts, their direction and their choreography together from the morning until their 8pm curtain.

Directors   Elizabeth Sperling and Trish Dalton do a great job in building the suspense by ‘dropping in’ on the groups during every stage of the process. Rachel Dratch admits to not having sung in years and watching her big eyes as she tries to  squeeze out notes is a really lucky break for the film.

A play about phobias has a song about a disinfectant that is catchy even if the germs aren’t.

The adrenaline rush of the do it yourselfer musicals provides a necessary escape from all  the bad news..creator Tina Fallon, says it’s very important for actors to be off book… so you can really feel the tension of them trying not to forget the words.

if a bunch of people can pull so much creativity out of themselves in a day, well what can the rest of us, humanity with thousands of years behinds us, say?  At least say it with music.

The film plays at the Quad all weekend, then is on Itunes. And the next 24-hour musical is this Monday in Gramercy Park.   

Written by nancykoan

April 27, 2013 at 5:51 am

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Lotus Eaters are hungry

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¬†Alexandra McGuiness’s debut film Lotus Eaters is oddly disturbing. It is shot so beautifully, in an ’80s soft black and white palette, with gorgeous close-ups of perfect young faces, as if torn from a fashion spread. So from the first frame, visual appetite is stirred, but very quickly dissipated by the backbiting, nastiness of this spoiled group of 25-somethings. These young Brits had me yearning for Eliza Doolittle. Who are these kids? Why aren’t they looking for jobs? Or doing their gap year in Tibet? And how can I share some of their lifestyle?

Lotus Eaters follows a group of young Londoners as they struggle to find meaning in their lives, by drinking, drugging and partying in beautiful castles. It seems that everyone is connected to old money, so it’s hard to feel too sympathetic for their plight. Instead of getting it all done and over with at Easter break in Florida¬† they run around in costumes, picking on each other and getting high much too long. Perhaps if they were witty, but mostly they are mean… to each other, and ultimately to themselves. There are no gang rapes, but certainly a type of bullying goes on…feminists don’t exist in this realm.

Two of the leads, however, are so charming and intelligent and I want so see more of their work.Benn Northover, from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2, found a way to make lost Felix attractive, despite his confusion over whom to love. Northover is a thoughtful actor and filmmaker who considers independent filmmaker Jonas Mekas a mentor.

His co-star, delicate Antonia Campbell-Hughes suggested that these characters are incapable of behaving differently from their parents — parents who have either over-indulged or simply disappeared. And her poot Alice, looking for someone to trust, puts her love in singer Charlie, (Johnny Flynn), pretty with giant addiction issues. Ms. Campbell-Hughes has an on screen presence of innocence that belies her fierce intelligence. She has just played the Austrian kidnapping victim, Natascha Kampusch in 3096 and will soon direct her first film.

The film is playing in New York.

Written by nancykoan

April 11, 2013 at 3:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized