The Bald Soprano: Play vs. Script

To say that the play [t]he Bald Soprano was strange would be a understatement, as it was the most bizarre and outlandish script I’ve yet to read. There seemed to be no moral or point to the story, there was no clear perception of time and the characters quickly seemed to lose what little sanity they had had. Needless to say, reading the script was a unique experience. Attending a live action performance of the script, however, was a different experience entirely on it’s own.

UMF’s interpretation and representation of [t]he Bald Soprano was interesting as they portrayed the play to be much more comical then I had originally perceived it to be. I enjoyed their representation of Mr. Martin, Mrs. Smith and Mary the most. When I had first read the play I had envisioned Mr. Martin as being a very plain and boring man, at least as plain and boring as a character in this story could be. Instead he was represented as, in my opinion, a somewhat nervous character whose blatant discomfort added humor to the ‘plot’. The scene I most enjoyed with Mr. Martin was the monotone interaction between him and Mrs. Martin. Not only was this entire reaction extremely hilarious, it was also much more animated then I had originally interpreted. While reading this scene I had pictured the two characters sitting side by side while they conversed. The fact that the characters were given the chance to navigate the stage and mirror one another’s actions made the entire scene all the more comical. While the portrayal of Mr. Martin was intriguing, I enjoyed Mrs. Smith and Mary much more.

In the written play I interpreted Mrs. Smith as a snobby woman who seemed to enjoy hearing herself speak, even if she really had nothing significant to say. The actress’s portrayal of Mrs. Smith was phenomenal as they made her into a dramatist who expressed herself through grandiose gestures and exuberant behavior. The actress projected her lines in a clear and confident, or perhaps obnoxious, tone while also over-exaggerating almost every action that she conducted. These attitudes made the character appear more in-depth, but only when compared to her alter ego in the script. All of these actions combined together transformed a character, whom I had originally perceived as snobbish and dull, into a comical and slightly more layered individual. Her interactions with the other characters, as well as her reactions, added a level of humor that the play deeply needed. However, the character that I enjoyed the most in the play was Mary.

Mary had a pretty insignificant role in the script, (but what significance did any of the characters have?), as her main job was to inform the audience of the identity crisis that Mr. and Mrs. Martin were unaware of. But, between the actress’s animated and, what I would call, personal portrayal, as well as her hilarious exchange with the Fire Chief, have combined to create another character that came to life on the stage. The actress gave her a sassy yet comical attitude that I had initially not imagined the character as having. Her passionate and exaggerated interaction with the Fire Chief was, without a doubt, the highlight of the play in my opinion- though I also really enjoyed her “Sherlock Holmes” moment. Overall, the actress’s posture, tone, and facial expressions are what ultimately turned this character into a comical and perhaps slightly more complex character.

Being able to visually see the script being acted out made my comprehension of the script much more clear, which in turn enable me to enjoy the production. Between the added comedy, the set design, the lighting, and the actors I was able to connect this play to a number of theories that we have been covering in class. While I would also like to see the play without the added comedy aspect, just to compare my experiences and interpretations, I very much enjoyed this production. My advice to any viewers who wish to see this play is simple; read the script beforehand. The pre-exposure to the bizarre and unfamiliar nature of this production will help you to, hopefully, have a better understanding, or at the very least, a better appreciation of the show.

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