I went to see ‘sunday in the park with george’ last night. I think Sam Buntrock the director has done a wonderful job, obviously with stitching together the amazing video work but also in getting some pathos and meaning out of the characters (the characters and relationships seem lightly sketched at best). I wasn’t much taken with the writing and composition. Now let’s be clear, I don’t know much about musicals though I’ve seen a few. But it seemed to me that the singing and the music were doing the same thing all the time. I wonder if it the same thing as my friend meant when he said there were ‘no tunes’. Normally when people say this I think they mean that the tunes are not very good – but in this case it’s as if there is a missing layer of the music – both the band and the singers are playing parts (often the same) and you’re wondering why it isn’t supporting some wonderful melody that has a relationship with it. My thought was that this is the same tendency that you see in a boring show. When I got home, Heat was on the TV – the big running battle / urban shoot-out scene. I remebered thinking even when I watched it all the way through and was more involved in the characters, “why is this so long?” we don’t get any new information from the sequence of shots: our understanding of them, and their relationships doesn’t grow: we don’t even think much about their fear. It’s just repetitive loudness. The guns go off, to no substantial effect, again and again and again. Pacino, de Niro, Kilmer, the other ones, all run a bit, stop, shoot a bit, stop, run a bit. The camera stays on Kilmer a lot, by which we know that we’re supposed to be drawn in to his story and care when he is shot, but when do you ever care about any of Val Kilmer’s characters? And de Niro seems out of place in this film, that has no respect for his sort of stylised psychological instensity. Probably quite a lot happens in Heat but I still turned it off. I couldn’t turn off ‘sunday in the park’ because I was there, but very little indeed happens: you meet everyone and they tell you how it is for them, and it doesn’t seem to find anything amazing in the relationships. And worst of all there’s this doubling up of effect between music and word. What is the point of having the music, then? Thank god the scenography was doing something to add to and develop the scenes. It did serve to emphasise that it’s a more involving event when different things are allowed to work with (and against) each other – so that we can have difficulty, tension or confusion in the stage space. Here there’s people babbling over one another, but they never really achieve any involving dramatic confusion.
About Daniel Evans too, who plays George and manages to seem to be congratulating himself whilst giving the performance. Actors who seem to be fanning (and dazzling) themselves with their own love during the curtain call are irritating, but there are a special few who can do it whilst playing a scene. Mark Rylance is another. This entry is more like someone’s blog. Maybe this will become a blog after all. I slightly hope not. Off to the Edinburgh Festival for a bit today. By the time I come back I will have seen lots of shows, had some brilliant ideas and insights, and forgotten them all. I’m going to try not to (forget).