BWW Blog: Molly Tynes of A.R.T.'s PIPPIN - Under the Big Top
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by Guest Blogger: Molly Tynes
In the world of circus, there is a special term for the opening number. We have been hearing this term, "charivari," in rehearsal a lot lately. Our circus choreographer, Gypsy Snider (of the Montreal based circus company Le 7 doigts de la main), explains that the charivari is a colorful and busy display in which the audience sees brief snippets in rapid succession of all the acts that will be featured that night. It should give the audience a taste of what's to come without spoiling the best tricks or giving too much away; it creates excitement and anticipation.
It is with this term in mind that Diane Paulus (our director), Chet Walker (our choreographer), and Gypsy Snider are staging "Magic To Do," the opening number of "Pippin." The lyrics of the song – full of invitations and promises to tantalize and entertain – already mirror the concept of the charivari. We sing, "Illusion, fantasy to study, battles barbarous and bloody. Join us! Sit where everybody can see! We've got magic to do just for you!" In this number, we are working to create a whirlwind of acrobatic excitement, seductive Fosse, circus flair, and surprises! However, we want to maintain a sense of mystery as well, a feeling that the biggest surprises are still to come; it is but a sneak peek under the circus tent into the enchanting world of "Pippin."
It is also in "Magic To Do" that the audience meets our Leading Player, Patina Miller. She has a few tricks up her sleeve as well, not the least of which is her voice! I get chills every time I hear Patina sing the opening verse of "Magic To Do."
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