Saturday, October 11, 2008

Experiencing Experiences...

I have often heard the expression that the movie was not as good as the book and vice versa. I have not seen /read many movies /books of the same title and hence I would not be in a position to critique on it. But that was till today. I witnessed an amazing spectacle. This was a musical Sweeny Todd in the auditorium. I had seen the movie back in January this year.

This is the trailer of the movie.

This is the poster of the musical.

What surprised me was that inspite of knowing the tone of the expression here and the storyline, I still enjoyed it to the core. Also, because I was aware of the story line, I had the freedom to actually reflect on what I was witnessing in respect to the class. On trying to understand the experience that I was having, with a more phenomenological and / or structuralist understanding of the interactions that I was having here. This one would call the Stage-Audience Interaction. This interaction was not at the visible or tangible level, but at the conscious level. On further analysis I noticed that I was constantly making comparisons with the image of the movie that had been implanted in my mind. Since I knew the story, the interpretation of the story was devoid of the surprise element. However the brilliant usage of music, acting and lights made this experience a totally unforgettable one.

In order to start off the presentation I was analyzing the signs and the units of meanings that were there for the stage performance. Here the meanings were created by multiple ways. At the lowest levels we had the
ambiance lights, the music played by the characters (which again was further broken down into the various instruments), who also were acting out the play, and the songs that were actually the conversations that they were having. Here the actors were also the signs.

What was interesting here that when seeing a theater performance I thought about the on stage actors as elements that add meaning to the piece. Whereas the same was not in the case of the movie.

Maybe this was a result a phenomenological impression of a movie that I had in mind, the whole notion of it not being there, as compared to the notion of the actors in front my eyes and everything being said / done / sung/ acted was happening in front of me in reality. The reviews that I had read, the trailers that I had seen had helped me form an interpretation of the movie much before I actually went and saw it.

It was interesting that in case of the movie, now if I recall, it was a phenomenological approach to understanding of my experience, where I was going in with a previous notion of the movie and the actor Johnny Depp. In the case of the actors of the theatrical performance, since I did not know the cast, and had no idea absolutely about what this was going to be like, I did not have any pre-conceived notion of the thing I was going to see.

What I am trying to say here is that for the same artifact, presented in two different ways, I felt that I was adopting different approaches to understanding the experience. And I find that really fascinating!

Oh btw, watching a show in the auditorium sitting in the center and in the second row from the stage.. totally rocks!! Thanks to a friend who got me the tickets that close to stage!

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