Creative ecology

As I examined the choices for music in a play, I thought of a great scene in a film.  Now I am not talking about the music in that film, oh no.  I am talking about that classic scene in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) where we get a glimpse of something I am calling “creative ecology”.  This is where I’d say “roll the clip” except of course it’s a youtube link, and you’re going to have to click on it yourself.

Why is this relevant?

I received a series of attachments in an email.  The play’s director forwarded a series of PDFs (music) from the choreographer, that i’m to play in the show.  The three compositions are from Die Fledermaus. No we’re not staging an operetta, it’s actually a farce, but the music is being used in various ways for dances, in a play of that era.  And that’s what reminded me of the dynamic described by Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep’s wonderful creation, in the clip).  We’re not like the gormless Andy Sachs (the laughing Ann Hathaway) in her blue sweater, but yes, we are further down the imaginary hierarchy from the Canadian Opera Company, who staged Die Fledermaus this past season.  While people often think of opera as a separate category from theatre, i am reminded of Richard Bradshaw’s stated intention of making COC shows the best theatre in town; with Fledermaus at least, i’d say the COC succeeded admirably.

Ambur Braid as Adele, directed by Christopher Alden, set designed by Allen Moyer, costume designed by Constance Hoffman (Photo: Chris Hutcheson)

Ambur Braid as Adele, directed by Christopher Alden, set designed by Allen Moyer, costume designed by Constance Hoffman (Photo: Chris Hutcheson)

I am mindful that the Canadian Opera Company will be announcing their new season this week.  Nothing had the impact locally this year of their Fledermaus production.  Is it any wonder that this music is echoing in the ears of our choreographer & director, likely enchanted by the COC’s production of an operetta?  Influence is intangible, but I wonder if it works something like what we see in the clip from the film.

And the fact that an operetta of all things was their edgiest show has me wondering… will they announce another operetta for 2013-2014? You’d think so, if they can repeat the formula for their success:

  • Find another good operetta (there are lots of them to choose from)
  • Turn a quirky director like Christopher Alden loose: a stirring prospect
  • …with designers in tow, ready to match the director’s vision
  • Cast Ambur Braid in a leading role again (or someone as exciting: which is the reason the easiest option might simply to hire Braid)

The COC announce their new season on Wednesday.  I am looking forward to hearing the predictions of my bloggy colleagues.  And further down the food-chain, the rest of us reverberate with their past work, while we antipate what’s to come.

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