Sun, Aug. 7th, 2005, 03:05 am || Stomp!

add to memories

I saw Stomp last week. It was nifty.

Wah, non-adequate description. I'm not actually quite sure how to describe it if you haven't seen the ads for it -- it's not so much a musical so much as people making rhythms and beats out of really random objects. There's no dialogue or real story. I suspect it's a bit like Blue Man Group, from what I've heard? The basic stage set-up looked like some sort of run-down street with garbage cans everywhere, and the show starts with some guys in messy clothing walking out with brooms and sweeping the streets. More people come out, and soon, you've got about ten people up on stage sweeping. The bristles all make different noises, and all the people have tap shoes on (I think), and everyone is doing different little rhythms by banging the brooms on the floor every so often or making short sweeps or other things. It sounds rather small, but the overall effect was really cool.

My favorite segment was when a group of people were sitting around reading newspapers and started making their own noises by flapping the papers or crumpling them or fanning them out or something, including the one crazy guy eating it. Hee!

Anyhow, I suspect I am making this sound incredibly boring, but it was just really, really cool watching people all start out by making ordinary, boring noises and eventually making them into music by doing them in rhythm and by making them into dance as well.

When I left the theater, I was making all sorts of random outdoor noises into music in my head.

It just made me think, what is music anyway, except a whole bunch of random sounds strung together in a not-so-random fashion? I just liked that they had me looking at everyday objects in an entirely different way -- everything, including the kitchen sink (literally!), was used, and this one nifty bit had people just flicking lighters on and off, and another had these people just sitting around and rummaging in a garbage bag looking for things to make noise with. It actually reminded me a bit of those old Pringles commercials, where everyone would drum around on the Pringles cans, or The Triplets of Belleville, which had the eponymous triplets (haha! I use giant SAT word totally gratuitously!) playing music on their old refrigerator and vacuum cleaner and things.

I liked how they made random noise into music just by paying attention to things, and I liked how it seemed to be a music of people, not necessarily sophisticated music that required years of training. Of course, this is probably one of those handwavy stage magic things, because to move like that and know beats like that probably requires lots of time and training. It just seemed like the show was fueled by the POV that anything can be art and that art can be found anywhere; you just have to know how to listen, how to look, and how to shape your world.