Archive for March, 2011

Spiderman: UR Doin it Wrong

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

I don’t mean to pick on Julie Taymor, really, I don’t.  I’ve wanted to be her since my mom gave me her book when I was 15.  I saw Titus in the theaters THREE TIMES, two of those times were dates, and I went into the city to the only theatre where it was playing to get tickets three more times only to find that they’d already sold out.  I studied her books, looking for the secrets of directing and I learned a lot about how to tell a story visually.  She’s really really really good at that.  I LOVE her for that.  I have a great amount of respect for her.  Though these write ups are pretty critical, this is still me learning from her.  I could also write glowing reviews of her other work, but they would just be “OMG SO FUCKING GOOD!!!!!!!  ANYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH ME IS WRONG!  SHUT UP!!!!”  And that gets boring pretty quick.

So here’s what I learned from watching Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark

1.  Don’t use that title. Seriously.  It’s awful.

2.  Respect the Source Material. Not into Spiderman?  I get it, I do.  It’s not for everyone.  Still want to do the musical? Then get over yourself, read the damn source material, find a plot line you can get into and use that.  Don’t insert greek mythology because you think it’s cool.  You wouldn’t direct a production of Hamlet and say, you know what would make this cool?  Goblins! and throw in some random goblins for no good reason.  Spiderman ain’t Shakespeare but the character and his stories mean as much to a lot of people as Hamlet does.  Respect that.  There’s nearly 50 years of multiple story lines, you couldn’t find one story arc that appealed to you?  Really?  Of course, I don’t expect her to read almost 50 years worth of comics.  But that’s what wikipedia is for.  OR, better yet….

3. Hire a freaking writer. There are plenty of writers who ARE into Spiderman.  With your sixty million dollar budget I’m sure you can hire a good one.  I know you hired a “co-writer” but I don’t know what the hell he did  to earn that title.  It wasn’t writing a good plot.  It sure as hell wasn’t writing good dialogue. These things are important to a play.

4.  Know your strengths and weaknesses. If you are a GREAT visual director why not just focus on doing that?  If your greatest known weakness is working with crappy scripts hire a good freaking writer. If your composers have ever written a song with lyrics like this run, RUN, to find a lyricist.  Have supportive people in your life but make sure at least some of them are going to let you know when you have a really REALLY bad idea.

That said, the show was spectacularly beautiful.  Seeing Spiderman literally fly around the theatre made my little geek heart go pitter-pat.  If you have the money (or a hook up, like I did) and a love of visually amazing theatre and the ability to ignore some horrifically bad writing, I highly recommend it.  If you’re a total design nerd like me, go see it.  From a purely design point of view it is undeniably awesome.  Just ignore the writing and most of the acting.  I made it through by imagining that all the lyrics were “spiders, spiders, ooh yeah, spiders.”

Undeniably awesome