Friday, August 08, 2008

Theatre, Music Video Style

Okay, this post is going to be a bit "out there." Bear with me.

Is there any artform more distant from live theatre than the modern music video? I don't think there is. Modern theatrical techniques have enabled a much more cinematic experience from the stage; automated scene changes and special effects can almost make you forget you're seeing it live. Yet there is no technique that can duplicate the "MTV-style" editing, the extreme camera angles, the super slo-mo, and the myriad other things that give music videos their unique look.

Sometimes music videos open up a theatrical world in miniature, reminding me of the toy theatres of long ago:

Best production of Waiting for Godot ever. Or, at the very least, the one most people have seen.

Not, strickly speaking, a play. But very theatrical. I would like to see this play, if it existed.

Music videos give you a sense of something, they convey an emotional life. They give you the barest bones of story structure (when they're done right)

And sometimes music videos are a triumph of style over substance, revealing worlds that exist beyond plot points and characterization. This last video has no story, but it is as riveting to me as anything I've seen onstage. It's a dance and it obeys the three unities of French Neoclassicism(!), so I suppose it has theatricality. All I know is if I saw this live on stage they'd have to pick me up off the floor when it was all over:

Can this sort of thing even happen onstage? Can it happen in an under-99, and in some way convey a cogent narrative? I think so.

More on this later.

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