|Essay type:||Book review|
|Categories:||Character analysis Books Writers Dramatic literature|
"The Regard of Flight" is a performance of 1983 written and directed by Bill Irwin. In "The Regard of Flight," Mr. Irwin wakes in the face of an actor's nightmare; that is, he wakes up on a stage full of the audience but does not understand which play he is doing. Brilliantly, he chooses Doug Skinner and Michael O'Connor to perform the theater play. Skinner performs original music in the play and explains the different settings of the New Theater and Postmodernism. Besides, Skinner serves as a narrator to the audience, commenting on various actions of Mr. Irwin while also regulating the performance. Skinner uses devices such as piano music and pressing buzzers, directing Irwin, and quizzing him to create confusion that entertains the audience. Michael O'Connor acts as an audience who criticizes Irwin's performance. Connor seems the only performer who understands the play and fires questions from both offstage and onstage, inspiring most entertaining shows' actions. As the show progresses, Conner changes the character into a dramaturge, directing and editing Irwin's performance.
In "The Regard Of Flight," the performance portrays the difference between old theater performances and contemporary theater performances. In the lengthy dramaturgy, Irwin's theme of fun was evident by representing various devices. The new tools incorporated in the "New Theater" set illusions such as antigravitational effects that test the limits of an upright body balance. This could be explained by Skinner as the use of lean shoes. Irwin describes the challenges of switching to a new theater. From his performance, it is evident that a contemporary theater setting will always incorporate traditional settings. As such, the old-fashioned proscenium stage keeps sucking Irwin to the backstage. Though the performance creates a humorous reaction to the audience, one can interpret it as the old theater trying to compromise the new theater. In the production, Irwin is being pulled back to the old-fashioned theater performances.
Most performances and conventional tricks are demanding, in such that only accomplished clown such as Irwin can perform. As a contemporary performer, Bill Irwin, "The Regard of Flight," places his name among famous Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplain. Irwin's performance illustrates humorous devices such as minitrampoline. The device alludes in a chase between Irwin and Conner around the stage, where Irwin seems to wear out and eventually gets caught by Conner. In the performance, Irwin makes a point of interpreting some of the problematic devices used, wherein contemporary theater becomes too conventional to create humor.
The Regard of Flight performance takes place in a proscenium stage. The stage was aesthetically and realistically designed and portrayed the performance period, which is 1983. In the setting, the backstage is separated from the auditorium using a curtain. The curtain could be moved sideways to extend the performance. Skinner described the old theater in the first minutes of the production and separated the backstage from the auditorium. Whenever an actor went behind the stage to change, a monologue or an artist could be called on stage to entertain the audience. However, the new theater does not separate the performances and even show Irwin dressing in backstage. It is a hilarious comedy performance, since every time Irwin is backstage dressing, he can't find his shoes. Most of the performance actions take place in the center stage. However, there are some instances where Conner and Irwin perform in the downstage area and also involve the audience in action. Besides, the proscenium stage sprouts an engaging environment with the audience by featuring echoes with the sound of bountiful laughter. Irwin, being sucked offstage by the proscenium stage, is symbolic. It was significant since the theme of his performance was a new theater dominating the old-fashioned performances. The sucking of Irwin offstage can imply a force from the old-fashioned theater preventing him from indulging in new theater performances. Each time Irwin begins his dance performances, he gets sucked towards the backstage.
Mr. Irwin has turned the performance into a circus. While being chased around the stage by his nemesis Conner, Irwin dazzlingly hides in a trunk. He emerges as a clown wearing a big nose and glasses, confusing Conner. The performance can be termed as self-mockery based on the hilarious plot of the performance. Irwin also demonstrates an elastic body to the audience when he sinks his head to the chest and seems to lose half a foot of height in the overall coat-like robe. Afterward, he darts around the stage at a Toulouse-Lautrec level. Also, standing inside a trunk, Mr. Irwin pretends to go down a staircase, creating a humorous action.
In the case of The "Regard of Flight," Irwin costumes play a significant role in actualizing the performance with the stage settings. All the characters are dressed up in old-fashioned costumes. The costumes designer ensured that the costumes integrated with the performance helped build up the theme. For instance, during Connor's critics, he questions Irwin why he is still dreaming of a "New Theater" but again dressing up in old-fashioned shtick. For instance, at the beginning of the performance, Mr. Irwin wakes up in bed wearing full caps and at the same time trying to figure out why there is a bed on stage. During the performances, he spends most of the time with a stick and a hat, which is an old fashioned attire championed by Chaplain. Other than the sleeping costumes, Mr. Irwin wore grey suits, Conner, and Skinner, reflecting the mood and settings of the performance.
In addition to the overwhelming performances from the three characters, every setting is articulate and precise. The performance incorporates essential devices such as trap doors and escapes hatches, which keep the performance active and lively. Skinner set a contemporary performance through music from the piano. The sound design is aesthetic, which is emphasized more on the perfect timing of the comic action. The sounds such as the buzzers, piano achieve a confusing state to Irwin. Since the play has no play script or director during the performances, the sound and music involve the audience. Besides, the tones act as a transition from one section of the act to the other. For instance, after Skinner calls out actions such as "dance segment," "kinetic imagery segment," "onstage costume change," "first homesickness song", –Irwin change act. Besides, when Irwin awaken on the stage, Skinner plays the piano to tell Irwin it is time to start the show. From the performance, Irwin can be classified as a helpless clown who dances to whichever sounds. Though the 45 minutes of the production is dancing and fooling around, the presentation shows invention and dexterity of the contemporary theater performances.
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