HOMER IN CYBERSPACE finishes its run

June 8, 2008

HOMER IN CYBERSPACE has finished its run. Since critics are discouraged from reviewing student events at UCLA Theater Department, I can’t offer you reviews. One rather rather grouchy and clueless review appeared in the Santa Monica Mirror online that sounded as though it was expecting a play and was annoyed to find it so cluttered with music that just got in the way of the story. Uhh, will someone give this person the clue phone?

I skipped the Saturday matinée and it turns out that the audio system DIED just before Conference of the iGods. Mel vamped till ready, the show stopped for 15 minutes and then went on. What was lost were the individual tracks of my music, so the sound gang put up my stereo mixes and everything was fine. Kinda. Certain songs contained an instrumental double of the melody that may have surprised the singers. But considering all the technology in this show, it was amazing that more didn’t go wrong. It seemed that almost every night, poor Parnia (Demeter) would disappear from the video projection, although the audience would hear her voice. Often a back projection would disappear followed by “the blue screen of death.” Some cursed “that damned Dell” and another blamed it on “that 32 year old cable that bridges this theater with Melnitz Hall.” I’m sure it was just a poltergeist, probably called Odysseus.

There was an interesting (unscripted?) ending last night. When the curtain falls at the end, it is not clear whether O and Penelope stay together or not. In the curtain calls, O and Penelope are in the middle, and then separate to opposite sides of the stage, giving the impression that indeed they DID go their separate ways. Last night, Kevin (O) held onto Grace (Penelope) and tugged her along with him to his side of the stage, giving the impression, on the last night, that they stayed together, living happily ever after.

Last night was the final and probably the best performance.
– – –

Excerpts from emails, heard and overheard comments about “Homer in Cyberspace”:

“The melodies are fabulous.”

“It’s a lot to take in on one listening.”

[Everyone loved the sirens — male and female — all wanted more.]

“I HATED the synthesizer sounds.”

“I normally hate synthesizer sounds, but your palette was ravishing. I loved it.”

“…a superb play and historic event”

[Those that found the plot tricky to take in on one hearing seemed confused at intermission and less so at the end of the show. I think that’s a good thing.]

“This is a trip!”

“I couldn’t always understand the words, and when there is plot being told, and I can’t understand it, that is a problem for me.” (This chap had a hearing aid. Hearing aids make everything monophonic. The cocktail party effect disappears and sonic dimension flattens. So, I can imagine prerecorded music being balanced with the voices of the actors singing and speaking, could be exhausting.)

“What I enjoyed most in Homer were several of the large ensemble pieces, the one where the crew thinks they’re homeward bound, great ship set and always great energy, at times too fast for me, and then the scene with, I presume, Zeus and the rest of the gods-gang, parts of the Hades and Persephone scene, and the occasional choral moments were nice –”

“I really liked the music.”

“Reminded me of CANDIDE.”

“The style of musical was fresh and interesting — sexy, hilarious, and beautiful at the same time — represented and supported the mood of musical. I still remember the “101010101”. That was brilliant, and memorable moment. It must be a challenge to write music in various styles, but you successfully did. (honestly, that’s not what I normally expect from classical composer’s work). You are truly Stephen Sondheim in UCLA!”

“I keep wondering what I’m missing by not knowing who Homer was.”

[One cast member made it clear she would have LOVED to have a solo in the second act. “Sorry, I didn’t write the story.”]

“I heard some resonance with Rodgers and Hammerstein in “Part Time Lover” am I mistaken?”
“Not at all” I replied.


—-

I guess I have become “the hugging composer” or something. After every performance, people lined up and gave me hugs.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brad Wood June 8, 2008 at 10:24 am

I was delighted and impressed by Friday’s performance, which as well seemed nearly seamless and glitch-free from a tech perspective, and remarked to Daniel at the intermission that I almost immediately began thinking of all the people I should have invited.

It’s not often that a musical sends me back to the classics, but this one is doing so. I’ve gotten as far as the Wiki on the Odyssey, which is wonderful.

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