Monday, January 25, 2010


It should probably be said that I grew up without television. My partner, who is in film, is constantly trying to adapt my sensitive delicate flower of a self to a "de-sensitization" process as most films or tv shows that come out I am unable to watch. (I made it exactly 11 minutes and 34 seconds into Sin city, on my third try ,before I was so overwhelmed I had to turn it off.) With all this in mind I was a little nervous to go see Nevermore. It was marketed as "Equal parts whimsical, beautiful and delightfully dark, the tale reveals the psychology of a man whose haunting comic writings continue to resonate in each of our tell-tale hearts." I tried to get my partner and a good friend to join me but its musical stature immediately denied any interest they may have had.

Knowing im a sensitive flower I decided to focus on something about the play aside from the plot. Thankfully Nevermore was a beautiful display of costumes! Its style reminded me of the opening of the recent rendition of Sweeney Todd, although this may not be a fair comparison because I left the theater about 15 minutes into this movie as well. The only colours in the show were black and a grayish-beige mostly used as highlights. The lighting was often dark just lighting enough to see the narrators or characters. Often the lighting shifted to red, bringing its dark symbolic connotations but also a sense of colour to the play. The costumes were delightful, the women sported over sized stylized hats, corsets and amazing wired skirts with beautiful accents. The men sported a variety of suit vests or large wired coats and eclectic Top hats. In someways the costumes made it more comical and less realistic, which i appreciated, and in other ways they accented the narrative aspect of the play. Each character, and narrator, had a specific costume which they remained in throughout the play. You can check out a few pictures of costumes and videos here if you are so inclined:

Another thing I rather appreciated about Nevermore was its use of space and movement. The stage itself was divided horizontally about half way by a giant screen running the width of the stage. This screen was a series of scree doors opening at three points, It was used to delineate physical and emotional space. It was wonderfully integrated into dance and song numbers or as a way of seeing Edgar's fears, nightmares or ghosts, sometimes it was also a demonstration of another room or a hallway which allowed us to be clear of the protagonists physical isolation from others. The actors also portrayed their isolation and artistic quirkiness in their movements. Many of Edgar's family were depicted as inspired but odd nonetheless, this is particularly true of Edgar who we see as a gentle hearted soul whose isolation darkens him. All the characters dance in a particularly angular manner much like they are wind up toys. I also noticed that all the female characters stood with their feet shoulder width apart while the male characters stood with their feet together. I'm not really too sure what this did but I felt it was intentional.

It was certainly a bit dark and dreary for me, in fact the story was downright depressing. Yet, i felt the visuals(costumes, space use and dance) were strong and enticing. Although at times it seemed the songs were highly repetitive the music was fitting and intense in its structure as well. The concept of dreaming and reality were deeply integrated into the play portrayed by the songs, the use of the screens to show Edgar's nightmares and the apparitions of his dead mother and other figures of death. The audience received it strongly with almost everyone on their feet at the end. It was a much more traditional approach to theater than The Show Must Go On would prove to have been later that evening, and one on an aesthetic level that i enjoyed much more.

1 comment:

  1. You're absolutely right about the Sweeney Todd connection, Megan. A very perceptive review.