This past weekend was a big performance weekend for Tim and I. On Friday night we went to Oasis High School to see the show, "Who's Crazy Now?" and then on Sunday we drove up to Tampa to see Transiberian Orchestra. Wow! What a weekend!
And I was thinking about these two fine performances and while, yes there are a lot of differences between them, there were a lot of similarities too. They each had their strengths but also areas that perhaps could use a wee bit of improvement.
So yeah, here I go with some audaciousness. I have some nerve eh? I am about to compare and contrast a Charter High School production with Trans Siberian Orchestra, world reknowned preformers who have been doing their show for 33 years. Yup. Here we go.
Obviously the Trans Siberian Orchestra has more finesse. But then, they should. They are all professional musicians who have been doing this show, working with this troupe for YEARS! On the other side of the coin, Oasis Charter High School has only been around for 18 years. And the kiddos, well, they have only been High School Students for 4 years or less.
Trans Siberian Orchestra (TSO) has the money for their elaborate (and amazing) stage shows. They come up with new ideas, new lighting, new music and new special effects every single year. The charter school is, well, a charter school. They don't even have an auditorium. The play was performed in the gymnasium with a cleverly rigged backdrop that allowed for a front "stage" and a back "stage area.
Artistry and Special effects? Well TSO offers tremendous musicianship and their special effects are second to none. The special effects at the high school largely consisted of the incredibly complicated light switch situation and the person in charge of turning lights on and off between acts ended up kind of being a light show.
Let's see what else, Professionalism? Well TSO consists of professional musicians, professional special effects people, professional managers and professional set designers. The only professional at the high school would be our niece, Carrie, who is their director and their teacher. She is amazing! FYI She also does the music programs and the kids who participate in those programs win competitions. They win A LOT. The drama program at this school is new. It will grow. Even a mighty oak tree started as a tiny acorn, remember.
Entertainment value. Well TSO was, and always is, amazingly entertaining. Every single time they hit the stage, it feels as if this is what they were born to do. The high school play? Also incredibly entertaining. These kids are very new at performing but they hit that pseudo-stage as if their life depended on it. They were earnest, they were funny, they were delightful and they, every once in awhile, made mistakes. Well that is how you learn. By making mistakes. They will get better. You think the TSO musicians never made mistakes? HAH! Think again.
Was it funny? Funny is always entertaining. TSO is not funny. It is awesome. It is amazing. It is incredible. But it's not funny. The High School play was funny. Sometimes unintentionally, but damn it, funny is funny. In fact, one of the most unexpected funny parts was the sound check. Carrie's boyfriend Russ did a mighty fine stand up routine during the pre-performance sound-check that had Tim totally cracking up. TSO did NOT have humour, intentional or unintentional.
How about the Audience, what were they like? Well the High School play audience was great. They were quiet, they were attentive, they were supportive and encouraging and kind and considerate. They even giggled at all of the funny parts. The TSO audience was mystifying to me. While yes, a large percentage of the people there were just enjoying the absolute heck out of the show, there was far too much moving around. By that I mean, people walking out during the show to get another drink and come back. Half hour later, doing the same thing. Half hour later, again.. Did you go to drink? Or to see one Helluva great show? Pick One Please. Every time they stood up and walked in front of people, they were disrupting someone's view.
And speaking of disruption, may I please complain about the people sitting behind us who didn't shut up for one second during the entire performance!!!!! Some of what they said was actually about the show, but most of it was not. It was maddening! NOBODY did that during the high school play. Just sayin'.
The thing they mostly had in common was heart. BIG heart. Every single person on both of those stages was there because they wanted to be. And they gave 200%. And they wanted us to have at least as good a time as they were having. And they succeeded.
All in all, we just had the best weekend and ultimately we were Very Entertained.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.