My son got a free-admission postcard for him and three guests to a local high school’s production of Hairspray. I told him we would go so he can see a real production from the high school he applied (and was accepted) to. He was not too thrilled about a musical called Hairspray, but I explained that it was not about a bunch of girls doing their make-up and hair. But it dealt with racial issues in the sixties and was mostly about making a difference and seeing past the skin. So today we picked up his girlfriend, seated ourselves towards the back of the auditorium, and braced ourselves for what we thought would be a spectacular production from a school in the richer town.
But unfortunately, it was not.
The painted backdrops were no better than the ones displayed during my son’s junior high plays. Yet the lighting was spot on, with spotlights and varying shades of red, pink, and purple. The production seemed to rush, as many of the spoken lines were spat out in ADHD pressured speech. Corny stumbled over his words more than once. Some of the singers were a bit pitchy, and Motormouth was barely audible. The tall, lanky kid that played Link simply could not sing. But Corny Collins, Wilbur, and the Von Tussle ladies belted out their songs with power. And our hero, Tracy Turnblad, was energetic and charming. Yet, with the exception of the lively Edna and Wilbur, the spoken lines were not heard.
Which brings me to an interesting point. Kids are outspoken and loud when we do not want them to be, like in the mall, out to dinner, or in the movie theatre. Or like right now, my son is yelling into his X-Box Turtle Beach headset even though his microphone is right next to his mouth. But when on stage, acting out a play, their voices do not carry. Kiddos, this is the time you are supposed to be loud and raise your voices! Are instructors not teaching them to project their voices in drama anymore?
Yet the puffy dresses, bee hive hairdos, and ratted wigs were the shining stars of the play.