What I saw was the fourth preview as far as I remember, so the following only shows an early view on what happens on stage. They actually might have changed things. This post is based on the preview of March 30th 2014.
I love most of the music of Violet, “On My Way” has this very special drive to it and it has this vibe of hope and motivation and more often than not I immediately feel better as soon as I listen to it. Plus I really like these sort-of-coming-of-age-stories – although Violet isn’t a typical adolescent character it’s about growing and leaving old paths behind. Something in this stories gives me the feeling that it is about growing stronger and opening up.
I like shows without intermission – I don’t exactly know why, but I guess there’s something about them what gives me a feeling of not being interrupted. Anything between 90 and 110 minutes is okay to sit through – althought it’s on the longer side. (back at Einstein on the Beach I sat through 5 hours!)
Can you imagine how excited I was to see Sutton Foster on stage? I mean, she’s probably one of the funniest actresses I have ever witnessed – I loved her funny Fiona on the Shrek DVD and her Michelle on Bunheads. To be honest she was probably the main reason to get interested in this piece in the first place when I read about this one night only concert they did of Violet. (which is the basis to this production as far as I know)
Sutton Foster and the rest of the cast (especially Joshua Henry as Flick and Emerson Steele as Young Violet – if you ask me) we absolutely gorgeous, their performance was highly energetic and they literally took us along with them on the bus ride – not only the ‘real’ one between Violet’s getting on and getting off the bus again, but also a ride through Violet’s life.
This production is – as you may have already figured out from my rambling about no intermission – a one act production of this piece, they actually created a new version of the piece how it was performed as the Off Broadway production back in the 90ies. They have shortened here and there, cut somethings, but also added a new song for Monty. It still has this charming vibe you can sense from just listening to the music – I think for the most parts it is easy to like, but…
BUT (and this is actually a huge BUT) for me there was a little something missing. Ultimatively it’s about love, loving yourself and being loved and love other people (in a way, that’s actually what the directing suggests) – but all this falling in love, falling out of love and in love again with another person happened too fast, almost casually. I really was surprised when the ending came around and suddenly there’s this big love between Violet and Flick (or maybe it’s not that big, but at least it’s big enough to change them) – and this impression stuck with me and still is sticking and it kind of bothers me.
I remember reading about how many people complained about Violet not having an actual scar across her face (I always imagine Phantom without the mask, something like Beauty’s beast without that much hair…) back in the 90ies and my sister, too, said: I thought it was weird that she didn’t have a real scar!
I think that Violet really isn’t so much about the scar, about something actually deforming your (or: Violet’s) face, but about the feeling of not being pretty, not being the same as everyone else, being different, not fitting in. I remember having a moment of shock when I saw Ms. Foster’s face in the light for the first time right after a short (and lovely) moment when both Violets stand and just touch their faces along what’s supposed to be the scar and obviously a finger nail cut in her face or something because there was a small red line on her face which I – in the first second – interpreted as the scar and “They did it!”.
I actually love not being shown things, just leaving the scar to the audience’s imagination surely was the right decision – while I really would have loved to see more of why the characters are feeling what they are feeling.
If this makes sense.
Just from reading this: Are you pro and anti showing the scar?
Have you ever seen something on stage you wish you hadn’t?
Or the other way round: Have you ever had the feeling of something had to be shown in stage but wasn’t?