Stomp Live

Stomp Live is an exhilarating display of musical talent. They can create rhythm and beat from any percussion instrument they can find, including the kitchen sink, literally! I am amazed by the sounds and instruments that they use. I believe my favorite part was when they all came out with kitchen sinks hanging around their necks and rubber gloves on their hands. They created a musical number that was both genius and comical. Not only can Stomp make noise and move to the beat, they can create humor and develop character without saying a single word. I was surprised by how much character and humor they put into their performance, creating a story line and even including audience participation. You had the one guy who was also the odd man out. He wanted it quiet and the others couldn’t stop making noise. He wanted to make noise and the others would make it louder or bigger. I especially liked the scene in which he was sitting trying to read the paper and they were all dancing like monkeys around him, making as much noise as they possibly could with the newspapers. You could tell that it was driving him crazy. Eventually he did get them all to quiet down only to make noise himself. I also liked the scenes that they would hang from the ceiling and make noise on the gigantic wall at the back of the stage. Stomp is definitely a unique and original talent perfect for all audiences.  

                    

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September 27, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

Miss Siagon @ The Moonlight

I had the privilege and honor of seeing the Moonlight Amphitheatre’s production of the musical Miss Saigon. The performance was sensational. The play is set in Vietnam during the Vietnam war and focuses on the tragic love story between Chris an American G.I. and Kim a Vietnamese woman. The two fall in love overnight and then are separated when Chris returns to America and Kim is left behind. Eventually Chris moves on with his life and marries another woman, but Kim bears Chris’s son and never stops hoping that her lovers will return one day. Eventually they are all reunited in Bangkok when Chris discovers that she is alive and that he has a son. The play ends tragically when Kim kills herself in order to ensure that Chris and his new wife will take her son to America where he can have a better life.

Having never seen this play before I was caught up in the suspense of what would happen next after every scene. Overall the production was well staged and casted. The voices of all the main characters, Chris, Kim, Ellen and the Engineer were breathtaking. The special effects added greatly to the performance, especially the helicopter that landed on stage during the scene where Chris has to leave both Vietnam and Kim behind. The helicopter was as realistic as a prop can be, evening having a rotating propeller on top. The production also included a video of real children that were born during the Vietnam war between American soldiers and Vietnamese woman. This video added to the authenticity of the play and emotionally drew the audience into the plight of these innocent children that were born out of the tragedy of war and abandoned.

This production was very intense and emotional. I found myself walking away analyzing the ending and each characters choices. Chris was haunted by the horrors of war and leaving Kim behind. He did not plan to leave her, he loved her intensely and was forced to leave her behind against his will. He lived not knowing whether she was alive, having horrible nightmares about her painfully dying, but chose to move on and begin life anew with Ellen. Kim on the other hand, was consumed by her love for Chris and survived on the hope that he would return one day. She choose to even give up marry another man who loved her because in her mind she was still married to Chris. At first it is hard to understand her adamant devotion to her vows, until she introduces her child into the picture and then it becomes clearer why she lived to be united with Chris. The play kept you in suspense of this detail and also of the circumstances that surrounded their separation. The scenes of the play skip over how the two became separated and does not show that scene until the end of the play. This kept me in suspense and even confused me a little in the beginning, peaking my interest to know what really happened.

Towards the end of the play it became hard to imagine how it would all end. Part of me wanted the typical fairy tale ending where Kim and Chris would be united together in love with their son, but I knew that realistically that wasn’t a plausible ending. Chris and Ellen decide that they will support Chris’s son, but leave him in Bangkok with his mom. They cannot imagine taking a child away from his mother no matter how hard she pleads for them to take her. Kim decides to take things into her own hands by sacrificing herself for her child. She wants him to have a better life in American and know that since Chris has a new wife the only way for that to happen is to give up her own life. The play ends with Kim dying in Chris’s arms while his wife Ellen, son Tam and friend John watch. At this point Chris is broken and the actor did an excellent job of portraying that brokeness.

I am so glad that I choose to attend this production and a small glimpse into the tragedy of the Vietnam war.

September 20, 2010. Art Events. Leave a comment.

Songcatcher

Songcatcher was a wonderful film full of beautiful ballads. The ballads were my favorite part of the whole film. I loved it when the young girl would sing them. She had such a beautiful voice. The ballads themselves were full of lyrics that reflected love, culture, story telling, and humor. I am glad that Miss Pennlyric’s attitude changed over time as she spent time with the mountain people. I don’t think she ever planned on exploiting them for profit, but I don’t think in the beginning she understood anything about how her actions would effect the people who treasured the ballads and their unique way of life. It was after the fire that I beleive she began to see things cleary and had a change of heart. Overall I liked the movie, not only for opeing my eyes to an unfamiliar culture and it’s beautiful music, but also for it’s entertainment value. This film contained some action, adventure, mystery and a love story, all of which are great aspects of film.

September 19, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

Mi Familia

Mi Familia

The movie Mi Familia is a great movie about the struggles and triumph of a Mexican-American family. I find it hard to believe that their father walked two years to reach Los Angeles and then when their mother was forcibly taken away and deported she traveled all that same distance with her son in order to return to her family. This reminded me of the determination of the three girls in Rabbit-Proof Fence to make it home to the safety of their family. One of my favorite scenes early in the movie is when Paco teaches the local boys the mambo, because I understand the thrill that comes with teaching young children, it is my passion and educational goal. I found the focus of the movie to be the youngest son Jimmy and I felt my heart breaking for him many times as he faced so much heartbreak. First he was eye witness to his brother being shot by the cops, then his wife dies at childbirth and then his own son doesn’t want him in his life. Not forgetting the two terms that he serves in jail. I was excited when he finally learned to fall in love with his wife, get a job, be happy and begin to heal from his wounds. It was almost too much when Isabella dies and Carlitos want accept him as father. I am happy that in the end Carlitos and Jimmy are able to reconcile unlike Jimmy’s father and brother. I cannot relate to many aspects of this movie, but I found myself reminded of my own families struggles that we faced over the years from my parents’ divorce, to my brothers anger that resulted in many holes in the wall, to gang activity, to the time my brother was shot in a drive by (luckily just his finger, which the doctor saved) and many other incidents that were hard to deal with. Each one of us has our own story of family struggles and triumphs.

September 10, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

Rabbit-Proof Fence

This was an extremely powerful and moving movie based on a true story, my favorite kind of movie because it speaks truth and uplifts the spirit. Before watching this moving I had no idea that the Aboriginal people of Australia were treated with such disdain and inhumanness. These beautiful and peaceful people where so feared by the white people of Australia that they desired to breed them out of existence by stealing their half-caste children and uprooting them. I was burning with anger inside during the scene where Mr. Neville presents to a group of white Australians about how Moore River Settlement can do away with the Aboriginal people in a few generations by teaching them to act like white people and breeding them out with other whites, until there is no trace of the Aboriginal left. He was talking as if the Aboriginal was not in fact a human being, but an animal. It was heart wrenching to watch the scene in which Molly, Gracie and Daisy are taken from their mother. Their mom was heartbroken crying, wailing and even hitting a rock against her head several times. My heart was glad when Molly comes to the conclusion right before bed that Moore River is a bad place and that Mr. Neville and the others running the place are bad people. I was excited yet, apprehensive when she rallied her sister and cousin to run away with her the next day. After seeing the incident with the last girl that tried to run away, I was afraid that the same would happen to them. I think the director did a great job casting and portraying the character of the tracker. He was an Aboriginal who knew how to track like the best of them, yet he was stumped by Molly many times as he searches for her and her sisters. On many occasions you can see him almost smile as he realizes that he has been tricked and in one scene he even verbally acknowledges that she is a smart girl. You can see that he is a character torn between his job as tracker for the white man and his Aboriginal roots.

 I love the scene in which the three girls first find the rabbit-proof fence. They are so excited; you can just see the hope of home upon their faces. The movie just draws you further and further into the emotional plight of not only these three girls on their quest to return home, but the plight of all the Aboriginal people. Another scene that made me angry was when the children met the other Aboriginal woman who had “graduated” from Moore River who helped provide a place for them to spend the night. The children made the decision to stay with her despite the risk of being captured again after she pleaded with them to stay so that the white man would not come back to sleep with her. It was a very emotional scene that only seemed to reinforce Molly’s desire to make it home and escape the horrible life that awaited her if she stayed in Moore River. The end of this movie made me happy to know that these two sisters walked half way across Australia against much opposition, spurred on only by the hope of home and the love of family, and finally made it safely back to the arms of their mother and grandmother. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read the conclusion of the story on the screen at the end of the movie, which said that Molly was eventually captured and taken back to Moore River, but that she ran away again and walked all the way back to home to Jigalong. Wow, I couldn’t help but have a lot of respect for her and her determination to be a free Aboriginal woman. I loved getting to see the real Molly and Daisy at the end of the credits, two old Aboriginal women, happy together. I also enjoyed the native music that played throughout the movie, adding to the films authenticity. Overall I enjoyed this film very much and am grateful for the opportunity to learn about the plight of the Aboriginal people of Australia.

September 5, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.