Friday, October 23, 2015

[Favorite Portrayals] AVM Blog Party -- Day Seven

Day Seven: Pick a character: Choose Your Favorite Portrayal. 

Sooooooo. I had to think a lot about this. There are so many characters that I love and want to just rant about, so finally I decided to pick three characters.

First: The Phantom.

"Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation."

My favorite Phantom is Michael Crawford, I feel like he really nailed the character and showed him how he is supposed to be. Over the past few months I've listened to a lot of different actors and I've found the same thing with all of them; they are way too angry. I don't mind a strong Phantom. I don't mind if actors portray him a little more actively aggressive. I mean, different actors see roles in a different way, and that is part of the beauty of Theatre. I just feel like the Phantom, as a character, shouldn't be a loud sort of person. He shouldn't be so sharp and harsh.

The Phantom wants to be normal. He does his best to be a gentleman, a professional eloquent sort of person. He speaks like a gentleman. He dresses like a gentleman. He wears a wig and a mask to make himself look more sophisticated. Even when he writes notes to the Opera House, he is very polite and passive. He isn't (typically) a loud, aggressive man. He is like the dog who will take a lot of hits, but when his bone gets taken away he growls and bites.

That was a really weird analogy, but you see my point.

The Phantom spent his entire life hiding under the Opera House. No  one ever saw him, no one ever heard from him except through the notes he wrote. No one knew anything about him. He didn't go unnoticed and undetected for years by being loud and throwing tantrums. He kept himself a secret by being quiet, clever, manipulative. He got the whole Opera House to believe he was a Ghost, to listen and obey him, and he never showed himself even once! It wasn't until Raoul showed up and tried to take Christine on a date that he finally revealed himself to Christine, and took her down to his lair.

"Look at your face in the mirror. I am there inside..."

Now, when The Phantom is with Christine he should be at especially gentle and careful. He loves her, he wants her to trust him. He would be at his very best around her, with her he would act even more like a gentleman. He wouldn't want to do anything to scare her or make her wary of him. She's the one thing he really cherishes, he wouldn't want her to  be afraid of him. I think that is why I prefer it when The Music of the Night is gentle, enticing. This is the moment when the Phantom is revealing himself to Christine, showing her what he loves and asking her to love it too. He wouldn't be forceful. He would be very tender, leading and letting Christine follow.

The Phantom usually kept to himself. He only started to stage catastrophes when Andre and Firmin, the new owners of the Opera House, refused to respect him or obey his orders. Most of the time the only reason he got aggressive was when it had something to do with Christine. He was in love with her voice and he wanted her to be the star of everything. When Firmin and Andre didn't comply, he got angry. But even then, he started out small and tried to get what he wanted in a passive way. He sent notes and warnings. He tried to be as civil as possible. He didn't immediately fly off the handle, he tried to deal with the problem like a normal person would. He was insane but he wasn't an angry lunatic... at least not at first.

"Dear Andre, just a brief reminder. My salary has not been paid. Send it care of the Ghost, by return of post, PTO. No one likes a debtor, so it's better if my orders are obeyed."

At the end of Act I, Christine and Raoul get engaged. This sends The Phantom into a tail spin. He loves Christine and he feels like she had betrayed him by choosing Raoul. This betrayal sends him into a rage, and he started striking more aggressively after this. However, he still kept the cool gentleman front. He speaks eloquently. He 'asks' for the cooperation of the Opera House. All of his writing is calm and well put together, as if he is trying to keep his anger under control.

"Why so silent, good messieurs?"

"Fondest greetings to you all. A few instructions just before rehearsal starts; Carlotta must be taught to act, not her normal trick of strutting round the stage. Our Duan Juan must lose some wait, it's not healthy in a man of Piangi's age, and my managers must learn that their place is in an office, not the arts. As for Miss Christine Daae! No doubt she'll do her best, it's true her voice is good - she knows though, should she wish to excel, she has much still to learn! If Pride will let her return to me, her Teacher. "

I think the Phantom should be more tender and vulnerable. It makes him more sympathetic when he has a soft side to him. It is so much better when his character is fueled by heartache, and not just mad rampage. It is my humble opinion that the Phantom should be mostly heartbroken when Raoul and Christine get engaged, at least until he hears them singing together and breaks into rage. The same sort of heartbreak should be there in the final lair. He will be angry, of course. Christine betrayed him (twice) and she was the one person he really trusted. But his anger shouldn't be the main point of his character. It is so much better to channel the pain and loneliness of the Phantom then the insane, broken side of him. I'm not saying the Phantom should be just tender and gentle. That is another extreme. I just think there has to be a healthy mix of both, with a strong tilt toward the misery in his character, not the wounded anger that so many of the actors channel right now.

I promise I won't rant as long with my other two 8-)

The Pirate King (The Pirates of Penzance

"For I am the Pirate King!"

Hehe, I bet you didn't see this coming. The Pirates of Penzance is one of those fun, relaxing musicals that you watch when you are in need of a laugh, and I really love it. My favorite performance is the one that Anthony Warlow is in, because, of course, Anthony Warlow. He is such a brilliant Pirate King. He is so funny! He does a "Jack Sparrow" take on the character. He copies Johnny Depp's mannerisms so well, it's fabulous. He also brings something of a charm to the role that no one else really has, it makes me happy. He does all these fun little things too, like draw guns during a sword fight and the whole *drunk hands* thing. Like, there is one scene in particular that I really like, where he is is explaining to one of his pirates that he can't leave the ship because it isn't *really* his twenty-first birthday;

"For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, I’ve no desire to be disloyal... Some person in authority - I don’t know who - very likely the Astronomer Royal, has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February, twenty-eight days as a rule are plenty, 
One year in every four his days shall be reckoned as nine and twenty. Through some singular coincidence – I shouldn’t be surprised if it were owing to the agency of an ill-natured fairy – 
You are the victim of this clumsy arrangement, having been born in leap-year, on the twenty-ninth of February."
When he says "An ill-natured fairy." he pulls a little fairy out of his ear and flicks it away. It's so unique and clever. He does all sorts of those type of things in his performances, little quirks that fill out the Pirate King. He makes you believe the Pirate King is real, he makes you love him and want to be part of his crew. I love Anthony Warlow, he is such an amazing actor,

You can actually get this performance on a DVD. It is well worth the buy,

"I sink a few more ships, it's true, than a well-bred monarch ought to do."

Lilly Craven (The Secret Garden.)

"A girl at work in her garden..."
I absolutely love Lilly and Rebecca Luker portrays the part perfectly. She is gentle and sweet, you can tell just by her voice that she is a graceful, beautiful young girl. I love her infliction and how light she is when she is sings. She makes you love her. It is hard to find really good female actors who aren't too harsh or sharp when they sing. I listened to the Lilly from the Original Australian Cast, and she was fine... she just wasn't Rebecaa Luker. When you listen to Rebecca Luker, you love Lilly You can tell she is a very special soul, someone sweet and tender, someone who just wants to help others to see the beauty she sees in the world. She has this amazing ability to sound like she is speaking when she is singing. She is just gentle and soft, the words seem to flow out of her without any effort, you just love to listen to her. She has such a subtle, layered emotion to her voice. Sometimes I listen to her and I get all choked up inside. She makes me want to cry.

"How could i know I would have to leave you?"

Lilly is a character on Broadway that I would love, love, love to play. She's only a ghost, but you can bring so much to her character. She is the Beauty in The Beauty and the Beast story. I love her relationship with Archie. She loved him so much and she is so upset that she hurt him... she knows how much he loves her in return and she can't bring herself to leave while he is grieving so much. And even though they don't have many scenes together, I really love her and her little son Colin. She's also really cute with Mary. You can tell she would have been a really good mother. She is beautiful and strong, she makes me want to be brave. Lilly is someone I would really love to bring life to on stage. And I *think* I could do a good job with her.

Have you heard Michael Crawford play the Phantom? Have you seen The Pirates of Penzance? Do you know who Rebecca Luker is? Who do you think does the portrayal of your favorite character?

Peace out y'all!

*swings around cape and leaps off stage*





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Pile of good things

Pile of good things