So tonight we got to see a semi-public read through of Sid Arthur, a someday forthcoming musical stage play with music composed by Vienna Teng. The story roughly follows the story of Siddhartha, but with a modern day single mother twist to it. Vienna wrote a whole lot of songs for the play, and one of them, Andy’s Song which had references to Orbit was the one song that really stood out to me from the pre-production.
The first act had a large amount of dialogue, some of which was repeated multiple times. A good example, the play opens with May Arthur becoming impregnated while her husband Sunny snores away beside her. There’s this imagery of what should happen on stage being read to us because the stage and the props aren’t yet there. A white elephant presents her with a lotus flower and then ends up inside her. That’s supposed to represent her daughter, Sid being conceived, but it was kind of a “plod along with me” description. Said description is later “foretold” by a psychic, so that opening could have just as easily been just a flashback later in the play.
There also is not that much music in the first act. Outside of some fun with food (potatoes and carrots), menial chores (cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors) and the aforementioned song with reference to Orbit, the majority of the first act is words, lots and lots of words.
Said words tell a pretty good story that holds your interest, but I wish there were more songs or that those words were set to music, because in the second act, the music really fits the story more and there are a lot more MUSICAL moments.
The second act, with its revelations works well, but the very end kind of falls flat. It has those big musical ending bits that end with a climactic here is where our story ends number. Its just that one particular number still needs some polishing.
The second act also has another song with food in it… bread and water… good song.
There were a couple of strange moments as well, as Raina asked “what is going on?” at one point and later there were a bunch of “tell her! tell her!” both reminding me of Repo! I’ve spent so much time around THAT musical production lately that even though it was unintentional, it felt like a reference to it.
Overall, I think that Sid Arthur could be a great play once it comes out of its infancy and matures a bit. I’m really happy with what Vienna has contributed to it and I look forward to watching it grow in the future.
And since we have a lot of notes here, I may come back and revisit my thoughts of Sunday night’s event again in a future entry.