West Side Story
On Tuesday 6th January 2009, my G.C.S.E Drama group were invited to see the spectacular production of ‘West Side Story’ at the Millennium Centre, Cardiff. It was a musical production, eagerly anticipated by myself, as I have heard about this show and heard lots of positive comments about it.
I was aware, through research, that the story of ‘West Side Story’ is based on Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The writer and composer have updated the classical love story, using music and dance. It simply tells the story of how Maria and Tony meet and fall in love. They live in New York; they meet at a dance, but as they come from different cultures, Tony being American and Maria, Puerto Rican, their families disapproves of the relationship and conflict occurs, leading to death. It’s a tragic story told through, song, dance and dialogue.
As the music began and the stage came alive with dancers, the atmosphere was tense. There wasn’t any dialogue between the dancers, but it was clear from the choreography how they felt. There was a sense of conflict between the two sets of dancers and a very stylised and balletic fight sequence broke out. A lot of us giggled at this, as it seemed so unreal, but this was musical theatre and all the fight sequences were done in this style.
The stage looked very effective. It was very simple; yet, the audience knew exactly where each was taking place. The staging was constructed on a proscenium arch stage and the centre of the stage became the focus acting space and because there was lots of dancing involved the centre was free from any props or staging. At either side of the stage there were two large structures, representing the fire escapes of New York’s apartments. By moving them back and forth, they are changed into different locations, such as the bridal shop and Maria’s home. On the back wall of the stage, black and white images of New York are shown on a screen to compliment the different scenes. This is known...