Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mama Mia! National Arts Center, Ottawa

I saw this musical last night (2 January 2010) with my friend Sue. We met again at the Koreana Korean BBQ restaurant and this time we got right into the spirit and cooked our own food. The tables have barbecues built in, under glass. But for meat (we ordered shrimp and beef) they bring out a heavy duty gas barbecue with a rounded surface ont which you lay the butterfly jumbo shrimp and the thinly sliced beef. Needless to say ... awesome.

So off we went to the NAC. This was a familiar drive since we just did it a couple of weeks ago for Rita MacNeil and the Men of the Deeps. Once there, we walked about for a few minutes on the second floor, and then wandered to our seats.

As you can see, we had great seats. First row of box 5 on the left. This box hangs over something like the 8th to 10th rows I think ... and being about 10 feet above the stage, we got a wonderful view of the whole thing.

Note: Please remember to click on the images to see the 800 pixel versions, which show the detail much better than these embedded thumbnails.

At wide angle, we look further than we are. Note the pit at the front for the 10 piece band. The pit was so deep that we never saw a single player. But we did see the band leader all evening, as he was elevated, presumably so he could see the goings on on stage.

Although they announce at the beginning that all recording devices and photography were strictly banned, I felt that a few images for my blog wouldn't hurt anyone. I had brought the F70EXR for stills and the ZS3 for video. I decided that the stern warning would be heeded for video, since you have to sit still for a long time to get a decent video, and that might make it a bit tough to hide the cam.

I tested the reach of the F70 from the box and was able to isolate a few people in the front row, which looked pretty promising to me.

This was right behind the band leader, and you can see the requisite Apple Macbook Pro sitting there on his left. So predictable :-)

The play started with a very nice overture, and there were three sections to the play. The prologue is a short tidbit that occurs 3 months before a young girl's wedding. She discusses the crazy act of inviting three men to her weddings who were possible fathers of hers, each having had an affair with her mother the year she was conceived. Of course, she did not tell her mother about this, and this sets up an alternating roller coaster of poignant moments and high comedy. I love the way they yank you back and forth ...

The two acts that follow are set the day before the wedding and the day of the wedding. The second act naturally follows the intermission, and this is when I finally grew a pair and began shooting. I managed ot miss the funniest scene in the play, five boys dancing in full diving gear with flippers. But I did catch some lovely movements throughout the rest of the play.

I loved the colors and the lighting when some divers danced. I only got one image worth posting, as I managed to forget that I was at a concert and started off in P mode with the F70. This is a terrible idea since the camera will always choose a very low shutter speed. And that shows up as a lot of blurred images.

When I finally got my sh*t together and set the camera up properly (hiding it from the view of the security guard who had taken up a position across the theater and looked up at me fairly often), I was able to capture this rather nice image.

And here the bride gets into the middle of this group and sings.

A while later, mom (Donna Sheridan played by Michelle Dawson) and daughter (Sophie Sheridan played by Liana Hunt) share some time together.

We see one of the dads (Sam Carmichael played by John Hemphill) singing. Note the clarity with which the Fuji renders everything. The stage is beautifully lit.

At this point, I glance over at the band leader (Bill Congdon who also plays keyboards.) It's pretty dark in there and this image is much brighter than what came out of the camera.

This part of the day of the wedding includes several interactions between Donna and the prospective fathers. Here we see her chatting with and then sharing a laugh with Harry Bright, played by Michael Aaron Lindner. He is a head-banger, which gave him plenty of opportunities to make funny gestures. These always got the audience laughing.

The next scene sees Sophie in her bedroom with the wedding dress.

Mother and daughter end up sharing a poignant moment.

Once the wedding is set up, we see a very funny scene with the third prospective father (Bill Austin played by Martin Kildare -- and note that, if you recognize that name it is probably because he has quite a few TV credits to his name.) Bill gets hot for the rather robust sister (Rosie, played by Kittra Wynn Coomer) and many hi-jinks ensue.

And then it is time for the wedding.

Of course, the wedding does not proceed, as Sophie realizes that she does not need Sky (played by understudy David Reiser for this performance) to marry her just to be happy. They end up getting off the island and seeking whatever it is young people seek :-)

Meanwhile, a wedding has been planned and paid for and Sam proclaims his 21 year love for Donna, and asks her to marry him. After playful indignation, Donna of course agrees. Very sweet.

The final scene before the finale sees Sophie and Sky at night, presumably leaving the island.

And of course this sets up the final dance numbers, which are simply amazing to watch. Karen had warned me not to leave early ... that the finale is the best part. And she was right ... it was breathtaking ...

The cast takes their first bows. These are the boys, part of the ensemble.

Here, the fathers take a bow.

And the sisters.

Here's a good chunk of the cast.

Harry with Tanya (the other sister played by Rachel Tyler.) Note that Tanya plays a woman who goes after rich men and then divorces them. There are some very funny scenes as one of the young men goes after her and she acknowledges her potential cougar role. Great stuff.

Two of the couples and Sophie.

The cast acknowledges the band. Very nice.

And here I believe we have entered the finale. This goes on for quite some time.

The men seem to be posing here ...

And then the ladies ... I assume these two images are the ensemble cast.

And I think we have mother and daughter with Sky and one other dude. I hadn't noticed how Sophie jumped up on Sky here, and I think that is Sam peeking out from behind them.

The sisters do a long, fabulous number during the finale. It was something to see and the costumes are stunningly bright.

And then the men make a great entrance, dressed in matching outfits by couple ... the audience burst into laughter at this.

This terrific number with the sisters keeps the action going for a while.

And finally ... Donna and Sam ...

I plan on seeing this again. It's just such great entertainment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It will be great to watch Mamma Mia, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.