Thursday, November 17, 2011

Moravian Theatre Company Presents 'Book of Gig'

The Real Book of Gig is described as “a tragic jazz opera”.

I’m not so sure about the opera part, but “tragic” and “jazz” are certainly apt terms for the production.

The Moravian College Theatre Company, the college's theater club featured the world premiere of this play on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12 at Foy Hall. I saw the Saturday performance, and the hall was pretty full, so I figured that with this kind of turn out, it had to be good.

The chorus and the actors did a phenomenal job, balancing their singing with their acting parts. My only gripe is that it was difficult to hear what the chorus was singing, which unfortunately included key plot elements to the otherwise vague and at times confusing story. Part of it was the trouble in understanding 8-10 people singing at once, and part of it was in hearing them over the talented but very loud jazz band that served as the orchestra for the opera.

As for the production itself, when it wasn’t vague and when I could understand what was going on (this usually coincided with me being able to hear the chorus), it was definitely a very tragic, heartbreaking play. The opera follows the life of Gig, a musical prodigy who sets out to be a jazz singer. He becomes quite successful, at least for awhile. The same can’t be said for his love life.

He marries his first love, Chiara, and they have twin sons. But with Gig being out on the road so much, Chiara grows lonely and desperate as she tries to raise two sons alone. Unable to see any other way out, she commits suicide.

Further tragedy unfolds throughout the rest of the play, almost to the point of being overwhelming, but from the tragedy comes hope. It's a reminder that even in the darkest times, there is always hope.

So, did anyone see the play? Any thoughts on it if you did?

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