Bright staging, muddy storytelling

February 07, 2006|by HIRA ZEB and FEDORA COPLEY

Next staff writers reviewed "The Firebird" Saturday, Feb. 4, at The Capitol Theatre in Chambersburg, Pa. The ballet music, composed by Igor Stravinsky, was performed to new choreography by Chambersburg (Pa.) Ballet Theatre Company. Portions of the dance illuminated by black lights.

HIRA: I could feel the thrill and the dramatic presence as soon as I set foot into The Capitol Theatre. The night started out with a preshow done by young ballerinas and the cute preformance was enjoyed by all, especially the older generation seated among the audience. A 15-minute intermission followed and then the real show began.

FEDORA: Overall, I loved the performance. The black light really enhanced scenes and made the whole show much more engaging. The costumes were evocative of the feelings and status of the characters.

HIRA: The delicate footwork of the prince and princess took me by surprise. Their movement and dance were perfectly in sync with Stravinsky's music.


FEDORA: I'm no authority on ballet, but I did feel a bit disappointed with the dancing. The moves were repetitive and there wasn't a lot of distinction or variation from character to character.

HIRA: The black light effect was amazing. The majority of the ballet was done under normal lighting.

The black light was turned on when scenes were particularly suspenseful and passionate. The costumes lit up and shined bright neon colors, while the dancers' faces remained black.

FEDORA: It was a striking effect. The stage becomes black, dancers' skin-tone is black and costumes' colors become intensely bright. During one episode, skeleton dancers have black costumes with the bone-structure painted on top, so it really looks like they are bones dancing.

HIRA: The storyline was basically clear but left enough room for the audiences personal interpretations.

FEDORA: I felt somewhat lost in the plot at times when things were not explained. I wish there had been more facial expression as well. The young man had good expressions, and helped me understand what was happening, but others were fairly blank-faced.

HIRA: Overall, the classic ballet was done marvelously and Stravinsky's masterpiece remains phenomenal.

FEDORA: As a piece of interpretive art, it was beautiful. If I compare it to a movie, it definitely seems lacking.

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