Musical theatre workshops and productions

Blog 15 – Those Oscar Nominated BEST Films

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For years, I’ve made an effort to see all the films nominated for a Best Picture Oscar before the ceremony.  At this point, I’ve seen all the nominees except one.

Granted that all the dramatic arts are cousins to one another, I am struck by how “theatrical” several of this year’s films are.

  1. Room: The title of this film telegraphs its deeply theatrical character. It is about a small place, easily shaped on a stage.  Both the novel on which the movie is based and the movie itself are told in the voice of the five year old boy, making this a drama of inner journey as much as outer events.  Watching the superb performances on the screen, I think the story begs for a version in live theatre.
  2. Revenant: This movie is at the other extreme, portraying a series of violent battles both with nature and with humans. At first, it seems to be a classic example of a story that can only be told in film.  But the actor in me was stunned when I heard about the technique of the production.  The remote locations and bitter climate limited the equipment that could be brought in.  So a decision was made to abandon the usual techniques: a modest amount of rehearsal leading to multiple filmed takes which could be joined through later editing.  Instead, director Alejandro G. Iñárritu opted for classical theatre technique: exhaustive rehearsal leading to a single “live performance” that would be filmed.  Without the luxury of imported lighting, the pattern was to rehearse all day and then film, by natural light, in the same 45 minute period each day.  Talk about a movie made “by the rules of the theatre!”
  3. Martian: Even more remote than the Canadian wilderness, I guess that a Martian local would be considered cinematic! But if the setting reminds one of Revenant, the plot evokes Room.  The important activities of the film all take place in small places.  And, in the end, it is a story more about a man’s creativity and endurance – themes that shine on the stage. I look forward to the clever director and set designer who can bring this story to the stage.

I am amazed at how the dramatic forms enrich one another.

Larry Little

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