Friday, April 13, 2012

Miss Siagon

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Miss Saigon


As a drama trip, my class went to go and see the production of Miss Saigon in Birmingham. There were many designs and costumes, different characters and music, sound effects and lighting. I found this production very interesting and imaginative. I could clearly see that a lot of time and thought went into making it, and it was all shown through the final performance.


The story of Miss Saigon was all about the war and Americans coming over to help the Vietnamese. Many of them slept around with the women and got them pregnant. The Vietnamese rejected the children because they looked to American, and the Americans rejected the children because they looked to Vietnamese. One American Sergeant fell in love with a Vietnamese woman in a club, and got married. He flew back to America and couldn’t get her passage. She had a child and two years later their paths crossed once more, and she was only to find that he had remarried. He would not take the child, as he believed that a child should be with its mother, so it concluded that she gave her life, to give her child one in America, were it would be safe for him, even if she could not be with him or the man she loved.


Costume


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Kim Kims costume at the start was a plain white dress to show virginity and that she was innocent. She would go around shy and lonely. She would not be like the other girls who picked on her. You tell her out of the crowed of girls as she would be wearing a long white, covering dress and the other girls would be wearing bikinis. The way she dressed also reflected the way she was acted. All the other girls would be going around knowing what they are doing and are really confidant. But with Kim, she would be shy and unconfident, and you could tell she didn’t want to be there. Every time a man would come over and talk to her, she would hunch up and hold her dress tight in a ball. The men she was with were also different with her because of the dress, when she was talking to them, she was saying that she would make a good wife and mother, but they just laughed back in her face and looked at her dress and would make jesters that she is ridicules and silly.


Later, when we see that she and the American Sergeant are in love, she is wearing very grand cloths, stands up right and it more assertive. She is happy and smiley, laughs and jokes. We see that the roles have changed, because all the other girls from the club are there, and they do not seem happy, because she has what they want, a good man and love. They all wear the same sort of outfits as Kim, but they are different, they are not as happy cloths, were as Kim and her colours are.


Later on again, when we see Kim, when the man she loves is back in America, her cloths have again changed. She has not a man to support her at this time, so her clothes are just rages, she not any money to get some nice clothes. He has left her in the country, but she has not given up hope that he will return, so she doesn’t worry about her clothes.


The only other cloths we see her in, in the play are the ones she wears when she is in a club working for the engineer again, and she is just wearing a bikini because she needs some money to get to America. We don’t see her in those cloths for very long, but when we do, we don’t pick her out from the crowd like we could do before; she is the same as the other girls.


John (American Sergeant) he only wore two different outfits in this play. One of those was at the beginning when he was in the army. He wore a typical army outfit, green shirt and trousers, black boots. This showed that he was different from the people living in Saigon, but that he could order them about, as he was in charge of what was going on.


The only other outfit he wore was in the second half of the play, when we wore the typical cloths of Americans at that time. He looked like he was back in America (which he was) and he was in his normal clothes as he had left the army.


The Engineer he also only wore two different outfits. The one he wore first was one that showed he had done well, and that he had a bit of money. He was in charge of a bar selling girls, and he got all the money, so he wore bright coloured suits. I personally thought that he looked tacky, but then again, I think that was the idea.


The other outfit he wore, was one that was like Kim’s. Rags. Again it was the same time as Kim because it showed that the Americans had lost the war, so they were not in charge, and the people of Saigon were made to wear rags to show that they were poor peasants. When he is wearing these clothes, he has lost everything, his work, his girls, his money.


But, things do get better for him, because later on, when he has fled Saigon with Kim, he has got himself another bar with more girls, so he is back in his tacky little shiny suit to attract more men to his bar.


Special Effects


The special effects in this production are amazing. All sorts of things happened that you never thought were possible to do on a stage. A car is driven onto the stage, and helicopter is landed onto it and many, many more.


I am going to start with my favourite one, the helicopter. I knew that this was going to happen so I was prepared for it, but I never knew that it was going to be done the way that it was. There was mayhem on the stage, so this built tension in the audience, and we could hear the helicopter coming down from the top of the stage.


Obviously, it was not a really helicopter, well, half of it was. The part of the helicopter that we saw was a real front half of one. It was lowered down onto the stage by cables attached to the roof, and for safety reasons, they could not have real propellers so they used tennis balls on the end of rope. No one noticed the difference that they were not real, because they went round so fast, and the audience could feel the wind as if they were standing next to a real helicopter. This has to be one of the most fantastic stunts that I have ever seen a theatre do, and I will never forget it.


Another very good stunt that was in the play, was one were a car was driven onto the stage from the back curtain. This was when the engineer was singing about the American dream, and he wanted a big car to drive him round, so, a big car came out for him. He didn’t drive around in the car, but it was still very effective because dancers came out and started to dance around, and this took our eyes off the car for a little bit, so it wasn’t a main attraction. This was a good idea because as the car could not drive around on the stage, then it would of got a little boring, but there was more entertainment, so we were never bored.


At the end of the song, the car drove out again and it made us believe that it was like a dream to, in our heads as it was in the engineers. One moment the car was the, and the next, It was like it was out of reach, like a dream you cant get into, as much as you want to, just like the engineer wanted to.


Some of the other effects are strobe lighting, smoke machines, sounds effects, and there are a lot of those in this production. They are all used in there own little unique way, which makes this production one that has got to be the best that I have ever seen in the use of special effects.


My favourite part that special effects were used, was when Kim her son and the engineer are walking off into the sunset to start there new life in America, and there is soft music and smoke from a smoke machine all around them, and I don’t know why, but that stuck in my head as being a very emotional moment in the play.


Lighting


The lighting in Miss Saigon is very different to the lighting in other theatre productions. In this there is lots of strobe lighting as there is a lot of action going on, such as when the helicopter leaves to go back to America, it is a very tense scene, and the strobe lighting makes our hearts race, as we want to know what is going to happen.


But in other places the lighting is softer, and more romantic, like when Kim and John are in there room together, is shows the romance that they are feeling so, the lighting is softer and darker. This made the audience feel like they are actually feeling the emotions that Kim and john are going through at that moment.


But, there is a contrast to that. When the club scenes are on stage, there is a lot of lighting and glitter to show that these are times of fun, and people are enjoying themselves. Thee lights are not those from light bulbs though, they are from signs that say things like, “XXX” and “girls girls girls” “Moulin Rouge” and so on. So it is made to look like they are signs from outside a street getting people to come into the clubs, like the audience did.


Conclusion


I think that this play is one of the best that I have ever seen. It has excitement, wonder, romance and action. The lighting, sound effect and other effects make this a unique production that would make it seem almost timeless. This is a play that I would recommend to anyone and it is one that I would never forget and I am sure that no one else ever would either.





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