Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Shock and Awe, or Plot and Acting?

A discussion of spectacle in the arts, from Lord of the Rings and The Lion King to Cats and Cirque du Soleil. The effects are impressive. Is that enough? “The urge to be amazed and overwhelmed is as old as theater itself. Extravagant spectacle entertainments thrived in early imperial Rome, 16th century Bali, 19th century America—almost anywhere that a crowd could be gathered and held captive by a good showman. But suspicion of bedazzlement also has a long tradition.” (Steven Winn, “When movies and plays set out to shock and awe, minor details like, oh, plot and acting can be left in the dust,” San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Mar 2004)

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