Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review of Porgy and Bess at The Lyric Opera

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Porgy and Bess. It was by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin. It was directed by Francesca Zambello. It was about a man named Porgy (Eric Owens) who was in love with a woman named Bess (Adina Aaron), but she was dating Crown (Eric Greene) who was very strong and very handsome but he was very mean to her and to everyone else. Then there was also a man named Sportin' Life (Jermaine Smith) and he basically sold everything he could get his hands on that was illegal. He sold drugs and also different kinds of alcohol, which are legal now but weren't when the show was written. They lived in a very very small town called Catfish Row where if some people didn't like each other basically what they had to do was fight and kill each other. Crown is one of the most notorious killers because he didn't really have a reason for killing Robbins (Bernard Holcomb) except they had a slight disagreement and Robbins kept winning this game. It is not fair to kill someone because of their luck! He should have killed Sportin' Life because every time he played, he won! This show is about love, friendship, religion, and how women should be and are treated. People should definitely go see this show. I had a lot of fun, and I thought it was amazing!

Maria (Gwendolyn Brown) and Serena (Karen Slack) have a lot in common. They are both religious and they both hate Sportin' Life. What I am going to do is basically show you the ways that Serena and Maria don't like Sportin' Life and the different points of view that they look at him. So, Serena thinks he is absolutely horrible because she thinks he doesn't understand God or what he does for people. God is important to her because she sings a song called "Oh, Doctor Jesus" where she is trying to make Bess better, even though she has hated Bess, even after Bess started living with Porgy and got nicer. Sportin' Life is not religious basically at all. I know that because he just wanders in drunk to Robbins' funeral and at the picnic he decides if people are in love with each other to point them out and say that they are sinning. His song is called "It Ain't Necessarily So" and I think it is about how he thinks it is not necessarily so that there is such a thing as God and Jesus. I thought that this song was a very fun song because it was way more up-tempo than most of the other songs. I really liked his dance moves (choreography by Denni Sayers) that he had, like where he basically bounced up and put one of his hands up looking to the sky and when he bounced up and down from the splits, up and down! If I did that, I would be going "Ow! Ow! Ow!"

Maria is not all about religion. She is also about reality because she wants people to realize that not everything is all God and Jesus but she believes in God and Jesus. I don't think she would care that much if Sportin' Life was not religious if he just left and never came back. "I Hates Yo' Struttin' Style" was about how much she hated him showing everyone how little he cared about the community and religion and how he did not respect other people. I think that Maria was one of my favorite characters because she was one of the most sassy of them all. And that was hard to do because there are a lot of sassy women! She would talk back to the most profitable man in the town and I liked that because that really showed that women can talk back to men and show them how much they hate them.

Clara (Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi) and Jake (Norman Garrett) were one of the cutest couples. Once they come over to look at their baby, you are like "I care about them so much already!" And then if anything bad happens to them you will be like, "Oh my gosh! No!" "Summertime" is a lullaby that Clara sings to her baby boy. It makes you feel so happy that this woman who doesn't have very much loves her baby and her husband so much. Jake is nice to everyone but is still the strongest and tallest of all the men in the town. I liked the song, "A Woman is a Sometime Thing." I still have the tune stuck in my head. I still know what it is about, which is about how women are not super reliable, but as he goes on you know it is a joke because he starts joking around with his buddies and the baby and Clara's reaction to that was just happiness to see how much he was happy and how the baby is happy. I think Clara's decision to go after Jake at the end was so sweet because even though she was basically saying, "I'm going to give up my baby," she wanted to go after her husband and the last thing they both saw was each other.

Bess basically starts as Sportin' Life's ideal match. The play goes on and she changes, but then he drugs her so then she goes with him because she is drunk and on drugs. That made me feel like, "Seriously! You changed so much and now you are back to the way you were! Maybe even worse!" It was realistic but sad, because sometimes a person can change but then after changing they can still go back to some of their old habits. You don't hate Bess because you know it is not her fault. It wasn't exactly her idea to go with Sportin' Life. But then he drugged and that made her want to go with him even if the real her didn't want to. You feel so mad when Crown decides to attack her because even though she doesn't want to be with him, he forces her. I thought her voice was amazing. She sang very very very beautifully. My favorite song was probably "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" because it was just so sweet to see two people who used to be so different now so similar.

Porgy is the perfect partner because Bess needs to learn from someone who doesn't have as much as her. That is basically Porgy because he is disabled in his leg so he can't walk right and he doesn't have fancy dresses and drugs and alcohol. In the song "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'" he talks about how all he has is basically a little cabin. He doesn't even have two legs that work right or even someone to help him like a wife or a sister or a mother. But he still isn't unhappy with his life because he finds ways to make his life better because of Bess. Bess is like his shining light because she has something wrong with her but the things that are right with him are the things that are wrong with her and the things that are wrong with him are right with her, so they can help each other. Porgy is basically the one who does almost everything right. He is nice and kind and he loves Bess, not like Crown loves Bess which is not in the right ways. I think he is part of the community, but he is less a part than some of the people. Because of his disability he can't go on ships or boats or to the island so then he is left out of all of those things.

People who would like this show are people who like lullabies, love, and hating drug dealers. I think people should definitely go and see this show. It was so amazing. Everyone's voice was amazing. I was expecting that, but it was so amazing that I was still amazed. I just used amazing in like one hundred places, but that is okay because that is how much I loved this show.

Photos: Todd Rosenberg

No comments: