Sing It To My Face!
I really like musicals. I like the drama and the costumes, the dancing, the lights and music. I like imagining I have that level of talent. Most of the time it’s good old escapism for an evening. But sometimes I can’t overlook that corny thing that pulls me out of the moment. It’s when I look at the actors on stage and think: that would never happen.
The same thing occurred last night when I went to see In The Heights at Keller. It is inevitable that two people in a musical or opera will end up singing into each other’s faces. This usually involves the woman holding the man’s face, then the man grabbing her hands and pulling the two of them close with their hands grasped between their heaving chests. About half the time one or the other throws their hands away and walks in a dramatic circle around their portion of the stage. The only exceptions are Rent (because the characters are sometimes two men, but really, they do the same thing) and Avenue Q (because they’re puppets).
I could be a director of one of these things.
Could you imagine if we did that to communicate with our partners? That would never happen. Although, I think it would actually be an effective way to get your point across. Especially with men who are not great at reading emotions. You’re upset that he hasn’t been helping with the housework or needs to spend more one-on-one time with the kids? Sing it to his face! Loud! Want more attention while she’s watching Project Runway? Grab her hands and make puppydog eyes while you sing!
God, that would get old fast.
So while I was watching Benny and Nina (Arielle Jacobs, who has a fabulous voice) sing into each other’s mouths, it sort of distracted from the story. It’s a bit formulaic, because Daddy never thinks anyone is good enough for his daughter. Otherwise it’s really good and I shouldn’t get pulled out of it over staging. If you’re not familiar with In The Heights – and you’re already forgiven if you don’t know of it – the you should know that I may be being a bit harsh on it. It won a bunch of Tonys in 2008.
I just think that sometimes directors should make these people a little more real. I mean, even when John and I were falling in love we didn’t do anything like that. How about staging it the way real people live* life. Like lounging at opposite ends of the couch. Or standing in the kitchen talking while secretly wondering who is going to bend and do the dishes first. And not singing.
I guess that wouldn’t work after all.
*Please note: apparently there is an exception to this singing into each other’s faces thing. Apparently it IS the norm in Finlandto do it. I don’t know. I’ve never been.