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Doyle's MERRILY.

thetinymagic2 Profile Photo
thetinymagic2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/12/07
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 08:10pm
OK, it's a gimmick (the instruments), but it's a gimmick I happen to love. The pix (on this website) look fab.

Any one seeing it in Cincinatti?
ljay889 Profile Photo
ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 08:12pm
The pictures look OK. But the choice of ages for these characters really perplexes me. I also find it interesting that Doyle has staged it as one act.
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 08:23pm
I admit, I dislike the gimmick (especially the more it's used--it feels more arbitrary to use it now) anbd the photos to me look like his Company with more colour... Yawn
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CurtainPullDowner
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/04
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 09:30pm
It's very blue.
chrisampm2
Broadway Star
joined:5/26/07
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 09:45pm
I've only seen the Doyle Sweeney and Company. In both cases the use of actor/musicians was woven into the production's basic slant on the material and did not seem a mere gimmick. I know Doyle started doing this because of scarce resources but he's smart enough to make necessity the mother of invention. Now he uses it to illuminate something he finds worth exploring in the material. I didn't like his Company, but I think his schtick is at the very least that, which is a level up from gimmickry.
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GlindatheGood22
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 09:59pm
Interesting that Leenya Rideout's got the bass. If I remember correctly she played it in Company, too.
I leave the room smiling.
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justoldbill
Broadway Star
joined:10/17/07
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 10:38pm
Do they start off with regular-sized instruments and progress (regress?) to smaller-sized and toy instruments in the course of the evening?
Well-well-well-what-do-you-think-of-that-I-have-nothing-here-to-pay-my-train-fare-with-only-large-bills-fives-and-sevens....
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PennybankBill
Stand-by
joined:11/1/10
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 10:46pm
Where can I see pictures? Link?
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Matt2
Featured Actor
joined:5/15/09
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 10:53pm
Well Doyle can't be blamed for being the only director for employing this gimmick every chance they can. Was looking for "Chess" clips and I came across this rather unfortunate trailer for the UK 2010 tour, directed by Craig Revel Horwood.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avTNh6BcJ78

I'm I wrong, or does it look like a weird combination between a John Doyle show and Rocky Horror?

Wanted to add a quote that made me laugh: "the show has garnered reasonable reviews for its staging and lighting." Wow, reasonable reviews!

Updated On: 3/8/12 at 10:53 PM
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aasjb4ever
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/09
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 11:01pm
My god, what a marvelous study in turquoise
What a colossal piece of crap! It'll probably run for years.
CurtainPullDowner Profile Photo
CurtainPullDowner
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/04
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 11:16pm
One thing Doyle's work (that I've seen) lacks is Sex.
Bobby and April made love completely clothed.

That CHESS clip grabbed my interest, it looks exciting.
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morosco
Broadway Legend
joined:7/10/04
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/8/12 at 11:21pm
BLAIR: Chromolume number 7? I was hoping it would be a series of three - four at the most. I have touted your work from the beginning, you know that. You were really on to something with these light machines-once. Now they're just becoming more and more about less and less. Now don't get me wrong. You're a talented guy. But I think you are capable of far more. Not that you couldn't succeed by doing Chromolume after Chromolume - but there are new discoveries to be made, George.
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RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 12:25am
I think given the way the stage works, it makes sense that the sets look fairly similar.

I think it looks cool and interesting, and it's got to be better than the snoozefest at Encores. I'd be curious to see it. Maybe Roundabout or someone will pick it up. But, doubtful.
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Matt2
Featured Actor
joined:5/15/09
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 12:57am
"One thing Doyle's work (that I've seen) lacks is Sex."

CurtainPullDowner, I couldn't have put it better myself. Having each character play an instrument is an interesting idea-- on paper. However, I feel that his shows come have come across as mechanical. I've seen his version of Sweeney and Company and I just felt that he drained the shows of all human emotion and passion. The instruments, for me at least, hinder the productions rather than help them.

Updated On: 3/9/12 at 12:57 AM
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Brick
Broadway Legend
joined:11/21/06
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 01:02am
Those shots are stunning. I wish I could see this production.
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luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 01:42am
I saw it last weekend, no secret that Doyle's work is one of my great loves. Don't have time to say much in the way of specifics but I thought it was really beautiful though deeply flawed. Of the three (Sweeney, Company, Merrily), not my favorite, since I think the vitality the instruments were able to have to the storytelling in the show was, comparatively speaking, limited. Can't figure out the thinking behind the blue. Have been trying to crack that all week. Glad I saw it. Cried a lot, very special to see another Doyle/Sondheim show at the Cincinnati Playhouse, too, after all these years.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
Updated On: 3/9/12 at 01:42 AM
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RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 01:58am
It's not a great show, so it's always going to be flawed where the other two have been deemed "classics" if you will.

But to say Doyle's shows lack sex is one thing (And yes they lack actual sex, but I think the sexual tension, etc. is still evident), but not passion. Watching Lauren Molina play the cello with tears streaming down her face was one of the highlights of my theatre going life. Just amazing, and beautiful. She was terrified of Sweeney and also heartbroken that she couldn't be with the person she wanted to be with. Ugh, so good.
CurtainCall
Understudy
joined:4/1/11
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 02:06am
'One thing Doyle's work (that I've seen) lacks is Sex.'
'Bobby and April made love completely clothed.' - Robert is going through the motions with a woman he doesn't really love or care for - why should it be sexy? He doesn't 'make love' the word for what he does is not so romantic.

The sensuality of Johanna in Sweeney, with Anthony and Johanna caressing and holding their cellos between their legs, whilst playing to each other, was one of the sexiest things I've seen.

The pairings of couples lovingly playing together during Sorry Grateful was quite exquisite.

Two little moments of theatrical gold that you can't achieve with a big band and someone waving a stick in a pit.

I've seen three actor-musician productions of Merrily over the ten years - one was John Doyle's - and they worked very well, but I guess if it's not your thing, you can always not got to see it.


Updated On: 3/9/12 at 02:06 AM
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ClapYo'Hands
Broadway Legend
joined:11/29/09
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 03:44am
"Was looking for "Chess" clips and I came across this rather unfortunate trailer for the UK 2010 tour, directed by Craig Revel Horwood."

It was the worst thing I've ever seen.
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AADA81
Understudy
joined:1/15/11
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 04:24am
I'm not much of a fan of Doyle's gimmick, though I admit it may have been the only way to get some of his shows produced. I saw "Sweeney" and "Company" and while "Sweeney" was at times intriguing, the staging made some of the story incomprehensible to the uninitiated. "Company", I thought, was just not very good. Pacing was off and the choreography, if that's what you call it, made the cast at times look like a marching band. I found both shows visually pretty flat.
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EponineAmneris
Broadway Legend
joined:5/25/06
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 08:01am
Doyle should stay far away from Sondheim. That is all.
"TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD"- LES MISERABLES--- "THERE'S A SPECIAL KIND OF PEOPLE KNOWN AS SHOW PEOPLE... WE'RE BORN EVERY NIGHT AT HALF HOUR CALL!"--- CURTAINS
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newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 09:31am
I'm certainly sick of the way Doyle relies upon the gimmick, and it IS a gimmick, and it ISN'T new or different or groundbreaking. It's been in use for as long as I've been going to the theatre. I've seen it many, many times. It's fun as a gimmick, but to do it over and over and over again shows a certain lack of imaginative artillery.

When Doyle is left without the gimmick, his direction is stunningly flat and colorless, as seen in Mahagonny, Road Show, and A Catered Affair (which I liked in spite of, not because of, the direction).
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Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 09:47am
Doyle gets so much flack for his use of the actor / musician concept, when people seem to forget that his entire theatre company in the UK was founded specifically to explore just that thing.

Its as if Martha Graham were being derided for constantly being asked to choreograph dance pieces in the modern style when that's what she set up her company to create.

At any rate, I will be intrigued to see what Doyle does with PASSION though I truly do wish that the Donmar production were transferring instead.

But back to MERRILY; does anyone know what 'version' of the text they are using?





Updated On: 3/9/12 at 09:47 AM
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newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 09:54am
All due respect, MB, but I don't see that as a valid analogy.

Modern dance is a huge form, within which Graham (and many others) explored amazingly vast territory.

The gimmick of actors as musicians is one tiny gimmick within a form (and it has been explored ad infinitum - personally, I've worked on 6 productions in the past 20 years that used it). It can be entertaining, but with Doyle, I see it becoming more and more about less and less.

A more cogent analogy would be criticizing Martha Graham for using a tube of jersey in most of the works she created (of course, that criticism would be dopey, because she didn't do any such thing).

Updated On: 3/9/12 at 09:54 AM
Michael Bennett Profile Photo
Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 10:02am
I don't think John Doyle has ever said he is pioneering that concept; merely that his company was designed to explore the theatrical relationship between actor/musician; which seems as valid a concept for a theatre company as any. And as you yourself state, you've been involved in many actor/musician concept productions yourself, so perhaps its a bigger form than one might initially realize.

If the point is then, the exploration of the concept, it then seems perfectly alright if it doesn't always work.

But the fact that its a concept that many on the board don't like or are 'weary' of speaks more to their own specific theatrical tastes than the validity of the exercise.

My point being, if someone who has spent their career specializing in a specific theatrical concept is hired to direct a production in just that style, where is the harm in that and it is it really any evidence of a director being stuck in a 'gimmick?'




Updated On: 3/9/12 at 10:02 AM
newintown Profile Photo
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Doyle's MERRILY.
Posted: 3/9/12 at 10:06am
Understood, but the point I'm trying to make is that it's an exploration that is limited by nature, and has already been explored thoroughly.

At this point (to me), it feels less like exploration (in Doyle's hands) than a mask to cover lack of inspiration.

In Doyle's hands, it also (again, to me) tends to upstage the piece and make it about Doyle and the gimmick, rather than about the work itself.

In answer to your question "if someone who has spent their career specializing in a specific theatrical concept is hired to direct a production in just that style, where is the harm in that" - I think that's a different conversation entirely. I'm not sure if "harm" is being discussed. Nor is anyone calling for a law against Doyle's gimmick. People are merely expressing a valid, informed reaction to what they see.
Updated On: 3/9/12 at 10:06 AM

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