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Why your show design is a rehash


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An important note: most all of these are (at least a little) tongue-in-cheek, and this topic is more or less just designed to stir the pot and hear what other people have to say because I imagine there are certainly things I'm missing. And because I have takes. These are varying degrees of thought out; I think some of them may even rise to the level of "half-baked." And note that I generally respect all the performances here, and some of these shows I genuinely adore.

BD: talking about dreams and waving around blue tarps like its 2016; doing Indian/Afro-Cuban drumming and dance for no apparent reason relative to the rest of the show like it's 2017/2018; ballad 60s pop tune with solos galore a la 2017/2018/2011; voice all over in multiple languages for no apparent reason like it's 2012/2017; backfield company front and gate like it's 2014; staircases from 2017. Show us something new.

BAC: did this topic thirteen years ago even if it was a different staff. Another show that's at least tangentially Christian (between the witch burnings in 2017, the salvation aspects of Amazing Grace in 2018, the Milton here...Goliath wasn't as explicitly so). Another popular song ballad after doing that in 2013/2017/2019. Another Keith Potter show that shoves a tango in regardless of whether it coheres musically with the rest of the show. More Keith Potter running-in-anguish like Crown 2015. Give us something that isn't your usual bag of tricks.

Crown: another set of brass band pieces? Another pop-song feature after 2007/2011? Another show with voice all over the place in ways that mute the brass (like 2017) instead of accentuating it (like 2013)? Give us something more.

Bloo: cool, another prop-dependent ending like 2014. Another show built on how big the props can go like 2016/2017/2018. Another new ending that kills the vibe that the previous ending had like 2019. Another white-uniform-with-accent show (at least in part) like 2016/2017.

SCV: stabby-stab conflicted music followed by drum feature movement followed by 90s-present rock song as ballad followed by synth-heavy drum feature followed by more-unified major-sounding closer. With gray-pole-frame somewhat-minimalist props. Cool, same basic structure as 2018 and 2019, down to using white uniforms again like 2018.

Cadets: Narration again? Suitcases again? A thin layer of finely grated cheese over everything? Come on. Cadets-do-an-ending-that-isn't-a-company-front-of-some-form-in-a-competitive-show-for-the-first-time-since-2015 challenge; difficulty: impossible, apparently. Do better.*

Blue Stars: cool, tables are back in like it's 2009. So many set pieces all over the place like it's 2009/2014. And gray uniforms that blend in with the field in high cam again. Give us something new.

Cavaliers: Another show built entirely around Fugue in G Minor like 2011. Another show that feels obliged to spell out what it's about like 2016 and 2017, but not as effectively. Go back to the drawing board.

Phantom: Cool, another show that has a name slapped on that has minimal tie to what's actually happening in the show (see: 2016, 2018, probably several shows in the 90s that I'm blanking on). More props-for-the-sake-of-props instead of using them in a way that particularly integrates with the show.

Mandarins: Cool, another abstract grimdark-for-the-sake-of-grimdark show, just like 2017/2018/2019. More rotating props for the sake of rotating props a la 2018. Give us something different.

Italics indicate the corps for which I had trouble thinking of things. I would argue that these corps are doing a good job of stretching what it is that they do in terms of design tropes while still maintaining their "identity"--Mandarins and Phantom in particular are good examples of this. I would also argue that some of these are things that were wonderfully fresh when they first showed up, they've just been subsequently rehashed.

I also explicitly ignored things that appear to be intentional homages to/celebrations of previous shows--shave-and-a-haircut in the Cavies drum break and the use of the solo dancer and company-front-breaking-apart in Cadets.

I stopped there because while I would go to the top twelve...we don't know who the top twelve is for the first time in a while. It's kinda nice, that.

What things did I miss?

(*do, do, do, do better)

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33 minutes ago, ftwdrummer said:

Cadets: Narration again? Suitcases again? A thin layer of finely grated cheese over everything? Come on. Cadets-do-an-ending-that-isn't-a-company-front-of-some-form-in-a-competitive-show-for-the-first-time-since-2015 challenge; difficulty: impossible, apparently. Do better.*

I laughed and laughed. 

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Here's my take: After two missing seasons, with a few corps at a dead stop during that period and the others doing very scaled back shows, who exactly was expecting earth shaking innovation this year? Most of them have ALMOST ENTIRELY NEW MEMBERSHIP. The staffs had no idea what to expect. 

Of course they, smartly, worked within frameworks that they have some confidence they will be able to teach effectively and that they felt all these rookies would be able to grasp onto and achieve. Even, so, there was no guarantee any of it was going to work. 140-ish new personalities, who had gaps in their training and fitness levels,  to learn and deal with was a huge wildcard for all of them, plus potential covid issues, etc. etc. 

I think the productions are generally fantastic and a great launchpad for so many of them to reach higher next year. If you think everything is stale next season, scream it from the hilltops, but right now, let's give some credit to the admins, staff, and especially members who have really produced magic in a season that could have reasonably been a disaster. 

 

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20 minutes ago, scheherazadesghost said:

I don't disagree about design.

But there are legacy Easter eggs in this show that simply make it more thrilling to me and other alum. I give the designers mad credit for that, given that none of them are alum. I also think they've come closer this year to something that reflects my experience of SC than Babylon did. But I never saw it live so perhaps I'd feel differently.

But nothing you said is off base at all.

That makes sense. I deliberately tried to avoid critiquing Easter eggs (the ones I recognized, anyway), because I think there's a difference between paying homage to something and rehashing something. And I'm never going to have an alum's perspective, of course, so this is distinctly an outsider's view.

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it's people running around playing and banging things on a field.  you like it or you don't.  not rocket science, and people inside and outside of this niche community just kind of giggle at the rehashes that people choose to like and call "innovation"....remember that the next time somebody trashes a corps for rehashes but then posts a hundred times celebrating the same bernstein or copland piece being played for the eleventy billionth time.  the mental gymanastic people go through to validate that which they like and trash that which they don't is hilarious.  

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