Author Archives: Script to Stage

Who is my audience?

The audience I have been imagining thus far has mostly been members of my publishing class. The reason my classmates immediately come to mind as the initial audience for this blog is because this blog was created for that class. Process posts like this one, mini assignments, essays and peer reviews are all content directed towards my classmates and instructors. That is the majority of the content for the blog.

It has certainly been a struggle trying to manage my voice on this blog for that reason. I know that I’m being graded on the content I post, but I don’t want to limit my personal expression within this space. I want this to be a blog that people from the musical theatre community can search for and enjoy.

The creative voice I write with for my musical theatre-related blog posts is directed towards the musical theatre community, but it doesn’t feel consistent through the rest of the sections, including these process posts, due to the need I feel to maintain an academic tone.

I think for the most part I have decided that it is okay to have that inconsistency. By the time the class is over I’ll probably delete all the academic content on this blog and maintain the original vision I had for it. I want to keep writing about musical theatre and I feel confident in my voice as a writer. The design and layout of the blog right now makes it easy to find course related content. I feel that for now that separation created by the navigation panel allows for the content on my website to be properly curated to show a divide between the educational material and the blog-related content.

A response to Peer Review 1

Kikyo Chan reviewed my blog for our first peer review here. I found Kikyo’s feedback very insightful, and I’m excited to implement her suggestions into my blog. One thing that she mentioned that stuck out to me was to use more visual elements both on my blog as a whole and within my posts. I completely agree that incorporating visuals is important in an attractive blog in order to keep readers interested. As a performer in musical theatre your job is to keep your audience engaged. As blogger, your posts are how you maintain your audience. That audience is likely keen to see more than just a wall of text. Multimedia posts are awesome for that.

I really appreciate that Kikyo mentioned how one of my posts got her to click through to a video I linked on my favourite musical. It’s good to know what is working and even more exciting is the prospect of converting more people into musical theatre fans!

I also liked how Kikyo left suggestions for future blog posts. A history of the industry wasn’t something I’d thought to do yet and it leaves opportunity for me to do some of my own research as well. Thank you for the kind review!

The Impact of Fake News in Modern Media

The growing digital realm of social media has provided this era with many wonderful tools and resources for different creative industries to use to their advantage. Social media is great for bringing awareness to developing businesses and new artists. It is a quick and easy way to spread knowledge. Unfortunately, the ease and vast way knowledge can spread is also social media’s downfall when it comes to who the information is coming from. Anyone can make a post on social media and create discourse, but is that always for the best? Fake news is an example of how social media can be destructive as a democratic platform.

            As Tandoc, Lim and Ling (2018) note, fake news is not necessarily a concept that was invented with the emergence of social media. They use Orson Welles’ narration of War of the Worlds as an example. In 1938, he thought it would make for fun story telling on live radio to narrate this story of a Martian invasion. Unfortunately, listeners were unfamiliar with this format and thought that it was a real news broadcast. Today, however, fake news is almost unavoidable. Social media creates a platform where anyone can upload anything without needing to back up their claims. An abundance of information on such a public platform can cause the public to question what is true and what is not. The most obvious example is the 2016 presidential election (McGonagle, 2017). McGonagle defines fake news as “information that has been deliberately fabricated and disseminated with the intention to deceive and mislead others into believing falsehoods or doubting verifiable facts” (p. 203). Social media has increased the harm of fake news due to the fact that it is so much easier to spread information. Many people do not think to fact check what they are sharing, and thus information that is false has more capacity to spread to a wider audience and cause greater harm.

            Social media also unfortunately causes a lot of uncertainty about what sources of news we can trust online. Aldwairi and Alwahedi (2018) note that “fake news and Clickbaits interfere with the ability of a user to discern useful information from the Internet services especially when news becomes critical for decision making.” (p. 221). Those with no understanding of how to fact check fake news will have trouble identifying and flagging it when it shows up on their timeline. Tandoc et al. (2018) also note that social media and modern technology have contributed massively to the influx of citizen journalists. While citizen journalism can be great for many things, such as the real-time release of footage and photographs on breaking news, it also has its downfalls. Most notably, citizen journalists do not have the same ethical training. they While social media creates a great space for democracy to take place, especially in regard to discourse surrounding the news, it is also completely unmonitored. This can result in a variety of ethical problems. Fake news is a danger to ethical journalism.

            Another way that social media encourages citizen journalism and therefore, often misinformation is through Suler (2016)’s theory on minimizing authority. Suler’s theory recognizes all individuals on social media as equals. People create online personas that they can hide behind. Some choose to stay completely anonymous. This creates a difficult environment for journalism because there is a huge lack of reliable sources to be found online. Suler refers to the idea that everyone is equal as “net democracy” (p. 106). Most people have a smart phone that they can use to post whatever they like on the internet and social media, but this brings us back to the issue of ethical boundaries. Traditional media will use censorship tactics to protect the public from graphic and potentially troubling imagery, such as dead bodies. Social media allows anyone to post anything initially. It may get taken down eventually for violating the terms and conditions of the platform, but people will still potentially see this content before it is removed.

            Social media creates an environment for fake news to flourish and misinformation to spread, even unintentionally. While its accessibility has undoubtably caused a large amount of good for journalism and the spread of discourse, it is also impossible to ignore the negative affect it has had on the reliability of news. Donald Trump in particular has taken advantage of the uprise of fake news on social media as a way to flip the narrative on reliable news sources like the New York Times. In 2017, Meryl Streep spoke of the importance of protecting democratic journalism during her Golden Globes speech. Today, that speech is just as relevant. Social media can be a useful tool for the spread of news, as long as we as an audience continue to view it with a critical eye.

References

Aldwairi, M., & Alwahedi, A. (2018). Detecting fake news in social media networks. Procedia Computer Science141, 215–222.

McGonagle, T. (2017). “Fake News”: False fears or real concerns? Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights35(4), 203–209.

Suler, J. R. (2015). Psychology of the Digital Age. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316424070

Tandoc, E., Lim, Z W., & Ling, R. (2018). Defining “fake news:” a typology of scholarly definitions. Digital Journalism: Trust, Credibility, Fake News6(2), 137–153.

Peer Review 1

For the first peer review I was assigned Kikyo Chan’s blog “One Dish at a Time.” The first thing I notice when I land on the home screen is that any user will immediately know what this blog is about. The clarity of the title is also immediately enhanced by having a quick yet catchy byline, which was a great choice for the blog and retaining an audience. You can tell that this is a food blog.

I also love how clear the drop-down menu is. The attention to detail in the header section of the website really makes for a great user experience. It is easy to find the different types of blog posts that I am looking for and everything seems to be assigned to the right place. The one thing I struggled with was finding the regular blog posts that weren’t mini assignments or process posts. Was there a section I missed for them?

I love the layout of the home page of the blog, but I wonder if the margins on the “Contact Me” side bar could be decreased slightly to allow for the content to be more centered. It is a smart call to have the contact information easily visible for the audience and I like the placement! I also find myself wanting to see the content on the homepage a bit more.

The “About Me” section of the blog is very clear, and I love how Kikyo relates different interests and world events back to the content of the blog! The “Experiences” section is a unique to the blog. Is this how the non-process blog posts are being categorized? I mentioned earlier that I was confused on where to find them. I love how the meme assignment was integrated into the content of the blog as well. I really enjoyed how Kikyo wrote about personal experience from within the restaurant industry through her family. Not only did it solidify the presentation of online self for the audience, it gives us as readers some background as to why she chose blog about food and how her passion for the food and customer service industries relate to her online persona.

From a design perspective I love the simplicity of the website. It is not too cluttered or overcomplicated. I wonder if a few more photos could be integrated on the home page and about section for a better text to image mix? Just a thought to increase visual engagement within the audience. I love the visuals included in the individual blog posts, especially the ones used for the superhero mini assignment.

Overall, Kikyo, great job and I can’t wait to see what other content you post!

The Princess Bride would make an excellent musical

I was thinking about the Princess Bride the other day, which happens fairly frequently actually, seeing as though it’s my favourite movie. At first, I was trying to figure out a way that I could properly integrate talking about it into this blog, seeing as though it isn’t completely on theme. Then I kind of said to myself, you know what? It’s my blog, I can talk about whatever I want. After that, I realized there was a way I could relate it to the rest of my blog content. I have an argument to make.

If you hadn’t already figured it out by the title, the argument is that The Princess Bride would make a terrific broadway musical. 

Now hear me out. I know not ever movie will work as a musical. You have to admit, it is a growing trend these days. You have Waitress, Legally Blonde, Mean Girls. You have stage productions of all sorts of Disney classics

I was doing my research for this blog post, and initially I was just going to talk about all the reasons why I think The Princess Bride would make an amazing musical, but apparently Disney already did! I was going through the above list of their upcoming adaptations, and apparently a musical version of The Princess Bride is already in the works (or was, prior to COVID-19). The book and music are either in the works, or already completed, though there isn’t much info available on the timeline, as the announcement was made by Playbill right around when Broadway shut down.

Here are the main reasons why I think The Princess Bride would make a great musical:

1. The Fight Choreography

Anyone who loves this movie the way I do knows that there is some pretty great fight choreography, that comes across as both action-packed and humorous. To see that come to life would be amazing.

2. The Separation of Worlds

The film follows two separate sets of characters: A grandfather and his sick grandson, and the characters from the story the grandfather reads. I’d love to see how the producers and crew of the show use set design to show the separation between the two worlds, and balance the quick cuts between the two.

3. The Genre

As a part-drama-part-comedy style show, scenes in The Princess Bride are paced in such a way that it would be easy to insert musical numbers into them. Part of the reason many movies wouldn’t work as musicals is because there is no space in the story to top and tell a part through song. The transition between song and speech would not be as smooth.

As one of my favourite movies ever, you can guarantee that if a musical version of The Princess Bride premiers on Broadway in the coming years I will be quick to purchase a plane ticket to New York and be one of the first people to fill the seats in the theatre.

The expansive world of editing

Prior to today I hadn’t realized how many moving parts are involved in the editing process. You have all these different steps that need to be taken along with different types of editing that all need to be done to form a cohesive piece.

As someone who has grown up loving all types of media, I’m very familiar with editing. I love writing, but editing expands even further than that. I also love working with all the moving parts of video production, and editing is a huge part of that as well. The funny thing about editing is that while the medium can change, the function is still the same.

If I’m editing a sentence that is too long, or doesn’t entirely fit the voice and tone of the work anymore, I’ll remove certain parts. The same goes for video. We generally leave the camera rolling for longer than we need to so that we don’t miss anything important. After the fact, some of that footage will be irrelevant to the film, but in the editing stage we can pair down that clip to what we actually need.

Editing is a crucial part of the process of creating any form of media. Without editing, the entire point of the story you are telling can be completely misinterpreted by your audience. Without editing, parts that need to be revised to allow the story to make sense or flow cohesively would go completely misinterpreted. Editing is important to make sure that the story you want to tell is being heard.

Musical theatre’s unspeakable: Bootlegs

Hello, all. I would like to warn you that I am still getting used to today’s new technology as I write this, but while technology has certainly changed since the 1940’s, crime and misdemeanour have not. You see, The recording and sharing of bootlegs is not just illegal, but disrespectful to the folks who have worked long and hard on these productions. They receive zero profit form these bootlegs that are spread across the internet.

For those of you who watch these bootlegs because you are unable to see a proper production of these show you love, you have my deepest sympathies. I completely understand wanting to be somewhere at a certain time or place and just not being able to get there. For those of you who do have access and can afford to go, but choose to sit at home and watch on your devices for sheer convenience, shame on you. Go to the theatre and support the labours of all the folks it took to get these productions rolling. Use going to the theatre as an excuse to get all decked out with your friends or partner.

This young dame also provides us with an insightful discussion on both sides of the conversation and she hit the main points right on the nose. The most important thing we need to remember is to respect one another. We need to respect our peers, respect ourselves, and respect the folks it took to put on these beautiful shows we get to see.

*This blog post was written as part of a challenge to write from the tone and perspective of a superhero. I chose Captain America.

Who are you online?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I interact with people on social media lately. It’s kind of hard not to when we’re surrounded by it in our every day life. Especially during a pandemic, where there really isn’t much else to do.

When I was younger I was definitely a person that overthought all of my social interactions, especially online. The concept of minimizing authority – that we are all truly equals, is hard for my younger self to grasp. Sure, social media is anyone’s platform, and there’s the ability for you to connect with celebrities and those that seem out of reach. The thing is, these people aren’t truly reachable. Sometimes they’ll engage with fans and other users, but I often find that isn’t usually the case.

I agree both agree and disagree with the idea of minimizing authority. I agree that platforms treat all users equally at the beginning in the sense that all accounts have the same social features. But when you take a deeper dive into social media, there are also elements that show how the platforms value certain individuals over others. For example, celebrities get verified checks next to their profile. In their Social Media Marketing course, HubSpot Academy discusses how certain platform’s algorithms favour individuals and personal posts over businesses.

While social media operates under a guise of equality and community, who the algorithm chooses to favour isn’t always fair to users. It also depends on the individual. You decide who you respond to on your own platform. Does this mean you are deciding you are superior to those messaging you and they don’t deserve your attention? Or is this just personal agency and democracy at play? There are some grey areas, for sure.

Why Hadestown is my favourite show, even though I’ve never seen it.

As both a massive fan of musical theatre and a massive Greek mythology nerd, the inception of Hadestown was a concept I could immediately get behind. The first time I heard of it was, embarrassingly enough, through a Ms. Mojo video. Now I can’t remember exactly what they were counting down at this point, but I do know that it featured the performance of “Wait For Me” from the Tony’s and immediately, I was hooked.

The absolute emotion and musicality I witnessed in that one performance was enough to convince me to the full soundtrack in its entire glory, and send me into an endless hole of Googling plot points. Of course, I knew the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice and Hades and Persephone.

What I hadn’t anticipated, due to the tragic nature of mythology was how fun and upbeat the musical would be leading up to the climax. Hadestown seamlessly blends New Orleans style jazz music with the myths to create the story. Most unexpected but still perfectly fused, is the Steampunk setting of the story.

The honest truth of the matter is that if you were to incorporate any Greek myth into a musical that of Orpheus and Eurydice is the perfect one because Orpheus is a musician. And the music… The music itself is what gets me. The way that Anais Mitchell wrote the music suits the overall story arc and themes so well. All elements of the production are so well blended. The staging and lighting choices suit the dark, mysterious elements of the story, as does the music.

I’ll say without a doubt Hadestown has been my favourite show at least since the spring. But I’ve never even seen it. Here’s an opinion. I don’t think I need to see a show live on stage to be able to call it my favourite. The internet gives us the luxury of being able to read up on the story, and watch different clips, and even have access to the entire soundtrack through streaming. There are also bootlegs, of course, but we don’t talk about those.

My point is, I’ve never seen Hadestown. But I’ve listened to the full soundtrack multiple times, I’ve watched probably every clip available on the internet, I’ve read up on the story, and thanks to my own interest, I know the myths. I fell in love with the story, the acting, the set and the music through my own interest and ability to research it on the internet. I don’t need to see the show in full to know that I’ll still love it when I do.

Of course, seeing Hadestown live on Broadway one day is a dream of mine, and I hope when Broadway finally reopens Covid hasn’t caused some of the shows I long to see to close early prior to reopening. For now, though, I’m content with having an image of these characters and having the soundtrack to listen to whenever I want.

A big welcome!

I realized through writing my first set of posts that I haven’t actually introduced myself yet. So hello! If you’ve landed on this blog you’re probably here for one of two reasons: you’re from my publishing course, in which case, hello! Nice to see you! Otherwise, you’ve landed on this blog because you just love musical theatre, like me!

I’m Keely, an avid musical theatre enthusiast from Canada. Why start this blog, you ask? It’s easy! Musical theatre combines my two truest loves: music and live theatre. Musical theatre has always been my favourite form of storytelling. There’s something about seeing characters come to life right before your eyes that causes an excitement within me. Everything is live! Sure, the actors, directors, crew, stage managers and FOH staff spend hours behind the scenes slaving away at a final product that we get to see, but no performance of one production is going to be the same every night. That’s the magic of theatre.

Personally, I have witnessed the theatre community from every possible angle. I have acted, directed, crewed, stage managed, and of course, I have been a fan. I have been a fan in the audience and I have been a fan from afar, in a virtual audience. The greatest thing about streaming services and the internet is that now, you don’t have to even see your favourite productions to fall in love with them. But we’ll talk about that more later.

Though they are ever changing, I figured the best way to introduce myself to this virtual world of musical theatre fans would be to list my top 5 favourite shows. While the order is ever changing, the list has been fairly consistent. My favourite shows are:

  1. Hadestown
  2. The Lion King
  3. Rent
  4. Heathers
  5. Waitress

That’s all from me for now. Thanks again for visiting, and I’ll see you soon!