This is a guest post from Laura Backes, she enjoys writing about all kinds of subjects and also topics related to internet service providers in my area. You can reach her at: laurabackes8 @ gmail.com. If you would like to write for TheDolt’s Blog, do read our page Be My Guest; Write A Guest Post.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. What the heck does YouTube have to do with theatre, right? Can anything make theatre not lame? Okay, just hold your horses for a minute and let me expound. I was really bored this one surprisingly fine day and I thought, hey, let me look up some plays on YouTube. That sounds cool! No. Not even close. Not even slightly close. I haven’t seen a play since freshman year, and that was Shakespeare. Long? Yes. Cool? Not so much. But I digress.
Anyway, there I was- bored, sitting in front of a computer, too brain-dead to even read anything. I was looking at funny Harry Potter pictures (yes, I’m a geek, we’ve established that), and I came across one on Deviant Art that had a very odd quote with a picture of a female Draco Malfoy. What. The. Heck? I figured someone with a sick sense of humor had done some sort of cos-play thing. And, in a sense, I was right. Below that strange pic was a link to something on YouTube called A Very Potter Musical. Okay… That sounds like an amusing idea. I was expecting a five minute musical- maybe something really lame like the Potter Puppet Pals (no offense, but I can’t stand those). What I got quite literally made me reevaluate my life.
Now you’re looking at me oddly. Yes, a musical parody of a children’s book made me reevaluate my life and no, you haven’t gone nuts, yet. First of all, this is no group of middle-school wannabe Daniel Radcliffes (the actor who played Harry Potter in the movies, fyi). These were college theatre students. That means they were adults. And not only were they adults, they were talented adults. And that made all the difference. The play was hysterical. The songs were perfect. The acting was over-the-top, just like a great comedy/parody should be. But you could see the talent in them. That is something that is most definitely missing from TV and movies today- talent.
Watching them made me realize something. Do you know why we like YouTube so much? Because it’s unpolished. It’s raw. You have to have something to make it there. It might be sheer stupidity. It might be singing talent. It might be luck. But whatever it is, YouTube allows anyone to show what they have- no money required. This is when I reevaluated things. I had been dissatisfied with what I was watching on TV and in the movies. I thought it was something wrong with me. Actors didn’t appeal to me, TV shows seemed repetitive and cliché; I was re-reading the same books and re-watching the same classic movies, trying to find out what that essential spark was that I was missing. And then I watched this, and it hit me. This is what was missing. There was nothing wrong with me; there was something essentially wrong with entertainment. When had perfection trumped talent?
Ah, ha! So now we come to the core of the matter. The individuality, the art, the very strangeness that makes actors/artists known and loved had been stripped away and shellacked over; hidden by a veneer of perfection and unattainable beauty. It is that imperfection- the odd pauses, the slightly off-key strum, the twitch of a smile during a serious scene- that makes actors people. That is how YouTube made theatre cool. A medium that allowed anyone to watch, over and over again, that one scene that they loved- recorded live, without retakes or outtakes, honest, pure and real. Want to see for yourself? Check them out them here.. I’m not saying they’re perfect, that’s precisely the point, but they are totally awesome.