Top Hat

My first time in the theater and I am watching Top Hat! Oh that fascinating show… 1935, if my memory serves me correctly, and it was wonderful. I do believe I have blogged about the brilliance of the dance choreography and the use of shadows and whatnot. Oh wait that’s Bojangles of Harlem. Wonder how it will turn out on the stage! I am greatly excited in the extreme. I do wish I had brought a coffee in to the theater though. Next time I’ll bring a bag of sweets of something. Is this a product of my movie-watching training?

The audience is mostly thrice my age or more. Which can be understood given that Top Hat was originally a pre-WW2 movie. This gives me a new perspective on the collective wisdom of humanity concentrated in this theater! Ah! I am but a young sapling in a grove of ancients… Of course there are some other young ones but by and large the heads here are all crowned with the gift of snowy laurels.

It is interesting to think about making Top Hat into a musical… The film has shot the scenes from a bird’s eye view of the stage! One can imagine that one is a member of the audience on the screen. So I could say, I have watched myself before, in a sense. So my past self has watched my future self in a movie, watching a musical. This really messed around with viewer perception and concepts of what reality is. Is all life a performance? From there we can build an argument whose main premise would be life is art. Though another case could be that art is life. From my vague gleanings of my time in visual culture class I recall someone of import in this field making such a comment. Very possibly I am dredging it from my subconscious in an attempt to sound intelligent.

I do wish the guy beside me would take off his coat, it’s entering into my private space.

This theater thing is cool! Interestingly enough everyone is using their phones. Of which I am too a victim. But I shall make the appeal that I too, am involved in the creative act of writing, and as such am excused from the contemptuous glances that all of you are throwing in my virtual direction for using my phone in such a sacred setting. But the truth is it is not different from a movie – at least before it starts.

Intermission now and the show is gorgeous!!!!!!! It is like Astaire and Rogers coming to life. Oh dear when Jerry and Dale dance together in the rain I died from an explosion of happiness. Mass tap dancing!!! Oh my!

There is something very interesting going on here with the audience watching a musical being performed on stage. There are two levels of viewing here… One is as the paying audience, and one is as the audience in the show. Effectively we have been implicitly told that we are part of the performance, and this certainly draws us irresistibly into being part of the entire show. Very very interesting and entrancingly absorbing. I am very happy now, I feel like riding a unicorn through a field of strawberry cupcakes. But back to the part about being an audience on two levels watching a performance on two levels: it makes you very aware of your identity as an audience member, both passive and active in the show. The applause is integral to the function of the narrative itself, and so everything is superbly double layered! This lends itself beautifully to the message of the life/art/art/life theme, and performance itself is becomes performance. Fascinating! Top Hat in London. I wonder if they will produce it on Broadway. That will make it geographically double layered too! But aside from the on-the-fly slightly-shabby and bare-of-evidence literary analysis going on here (though I must say this film/musical dynamic certainly bears more exploration – lion king here I come! And film/book/performance. Charlie and the chocolate factory! I’m getting very excited here) it is simply magical watching the musical. I can’t wait for Cheek to Cheek. Oh dear… I even know the lyrics.

Oh my this is the best thing!! Woo! I love it. Floating on a bed of fluffy popcorn and the air is filled with the smell of caramelized onions! It is very cold air, but still wonderful. Highly stimulating for the senses and at the same time intellectually challenging. Ah! This is how evenings should be spent. Expensive evenings though… My student budget shall be stretched even more. All meals self cooked in order to watch more shows. Sorry no more presents for anyone.

Dance is a great metaphor for a relationship. Seeing how the main characters are dancing! They take turns to lead and they have to be in sync. It takes practice, sometimes you step on each other’s toes, it’s tiring and draining, and you have to orbit each other. You spin each other around and twirl and lean, and support and make beautiful music. It all comes together, climaxes in an infinite moment of perfection, like that of a three-ball frozen in the air, hanging above the rim, just before it swishes! through the twine. The dance of a mother and child will certainly be different from that of a husband and wife but I think the metaphor holds. Maybe people should start going for family dance classes as a means of emotional therapy.


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