An excited family went to The Big City with special preview tickets to Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. The fourteen year old girl had the cast memorized and a spiderman leg (?! where did that come from?) tucked into her pocket. The 10 year old boy was jiggling and bouncing and whistling and annoying his sister. I wanted to squeal. I think I held it in pretty well. We had wonderful orchestra seats, and I overheard Mark tell Cam, “Your mother is a genius.” I was very proud. I don’t hear that often.
And then, the show. Wow. It is an amazing mix of puppetry, circus, rock opera, and vaudeville schtick. And it begins with the most beautiful, mythical weaving sequence: the fibre freak’s moment of spectacle ecstasy. It is all so beautiful. The sets just keep changing, evolving, moving, creating. They feel like the pages of a comic book flipping by, folding down, zooming in, expanding out. There is so much to look at. And I love the low tech touches: A giant inflatable wrestling dude, a tiny spiderman doll swinging by, a toy subway car, a 2D camera around Peter Parker’s neck. These moments kept bringing me back to the essential theatrical experience we were sharing, opening my imagination to the story and its telling. The giant arial acts made me scream and cheer, but the simpler stuff brought the story to me. I was charmed.
Do you remember how your mother always said, “It’s always fun until someone get’s hurt.”? She was so right. Spiderman finally, completely won me over with The Boy Falls From The Sky (The best song in the show ) when he fell. From really, really high up. And the show stopped. And we could hear Jennifer Damiano sobbing and wailing in the pit, and Nellie was sobbing and crying by my side, and Cam was saying, “What? What?” and Mark said, “That fall did not look right.” And I felt like I wanted to throw up. Then my mother instincts kicked in and I really wanted to jump into the pit to comfort Jennifer. And Reeve. And I also wanted to get my kids out of there. And I wanted to find out what happened. When we got to the street the rescue vehicles were waiting and I got scared. I did not want my kids, still crying, to see a body bag being removed from the theatre. that was a nasty fall. We stumbled away, shivering in the freezing cold, when Cam said, “We never even got to see him turn on the light!” He was right. So close, but we didn’t see the resolution. How does it end?
The book/Score has a ways to go before opening, especially the score. There is a lot of shaping and cutting and expanding before this epic really feels coherent and complete. I could go on here forever about the specific performances, and the blending of voices, but this is a knitting blog. I’m just going to say that Reeve Carney earned my admiration with that last, passionate song, although I worried earlier that he might be damaging his voice. Also, Jennifer Damiano has such a set of pipes, but there were times I wondered if those two really sounded great together. In any case. We’re going back. We’ve got to see what happened. I hope he turns off the dark.
This is us by THE BIG TREE on our way home. We are trying to put a bright face on the scary night. More about NYC stuff tomorrow and a knitting update. Time to pick up my pointy sticks.