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whetherwax

Wimpiness in DVD and live viewers?

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I have a copy of Romeo and Juliet done by the POB and so far I have not been able to watch it through. Not because it is not gloriously staged etc., but because I am too squeamish about the violence and pain it reflects. This is pretty weird isnt it? The narrative is several jumps away from me - it is from a renaissance play, it is set in another time, it is transposed into a melange of body lines, movements and music and yet I am too frightened to actually subject myself to the emotion it protrays.

It is mainly the confrontation I find difficult.

I wonder is it just that with age one becomes more frail about human conflict and suffering or are there others who find certain ballets so confronting?

Do some of you find certain ballets hard to watch?

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What a great topic!

I find R&J one of the most painful stories, and the ballet does not fail to show the tragedy. I can distract myself from the story by concentrating on the dancing until I get to Juliet's sleeping potient; from then on it's very difficult. There was a TV series called "Ballerina", done by Makarova, which showed a death scene from R&J with Fracci and Iancu, if I'm not mistaken. It is almost unspeakable. So I don't think it's altogether you; this is an unbearable story. I'm 73 and have felt this way for a loooong time.

Giannina

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Yes, "Manon" fits into that catgegory. I recall seeing Vishneva badly bruised during the final PDD and the subject matter is not too palatable. Weatherwax I don't think you are being too squeemish. I have a copy of the film "Syriana" and try as I do, I cannot get through it. I stop cold at the death of the child which is at the beginning of the movie.

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To be REALLY honest, I wouldn't even call it wimpiness--just normal human emotion, which is a good thing and I'm glad people have it :clapping::) :)

R&J is so...raw, compared to the stylized Swan Lake, Bayadere etc....that that death scene does make me shiver.

:)

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I need the violence in R&J (balletically and otherwise). Without it, where is the lovers' struggle? If the families kinda don't much care for each other (as opposed to finding purpose in the other's annihilation), why were the youngsters doomed?

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I also feel the violence is needed in R+J to give dramatic gravity to the situation. I haven't seen the POB's, but from the MacMillan and the Lavrosky productions I feel it's apt.

I have to admit that Manon upsets me more--or did the first time I saw it, maybe because I didn't know the story before (somehow I had never seen any of the opera versions). I'm trying tot hink if I've ever felt uncomfortable watching a dance performance. I don't think I have with any classical ballet, but some modern works (done, I feel to shock) have given me that feeling--National Ballet had a Rite of Spring in the mid 90s that I saw as a teen and it really threw me.

In general, I feel, your "wimpiness" at watching various forms of art often has to do with where you are with life at the time--and your emotions. I know that, oddly, as a teenager I found extreme violence in stage works or graphic movies pretty unaffecting. Now, I find it much harder to watch (especially on the big screen or in an intense stage piece), even though I'm in my twenties, when you'd think one would be more desensitized.

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it is transposed into a melange of body lines, movements and music and yet I am too frightened to actually subject myself to the emotion it protrays.

I feel that it's actually this transposition in movement and music that enhances the emotional impact of the narrative. I can watch graphic violence in a movie and not feel too upset while I'm moved by the plight of poor Nikiya in what could be described as a silly corny story.

I am in my late forties and I think that age makes us more vulnerable to violence and suffering in fiction but not that it's due to some frailty of the self. It's rather that with time we have been more exposed to the real thing while as teenagers it all looks like some wild abstraction.

What you call wimpiness should more aptly be described as great sensitiveness, an asset that allows you to enjoy a ballet and life in general to the full but can also put you aside the mainstream of society.

In the bonus part of POB's DVD of Roméo & Juliet they say the dancers are using real swords in the fight scenes and that sometimes during the rehearsals they would get cut. I guess this must have added some intensity to the performance...

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As I get older, I close my eyes to film violence. Even when I know it is staged and digitized. No one sane likes "gratiuitious" violence. In old age, almost every kind of violence seems, essentially, gratuitous .. futile ... tragic.

On stage, I can't say I have ever been deeply, directly emotionally involved R&J, except of course in the dance and characterizations. I've been trying to think of times when I have felt the kind of personal vulnerability that you are talking about here.

The only experience that comes to mind was a long-ago Northern Ballet Theater (UK) performance. It was during the market-place scene that leads to the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt. You gangs of boys, even the whores, threw themselves into their parts recklessly.

Mercutio's death actually shocked and distressed me, even though I knew the story line. I had strong identification with Romeo's response: shock, confusion, pity, rage. Part of me wanted to shout to him: "Klll the bastard." (Tybalt.) Another side of me said: "Don't be a fool. Get out of there. Don't get sucked into this hopeless feuding."

My most chilling memory is of Lady Capulet's mimed howl of anguish when she saw the corpse of her nephew (and lover?) Tybalt. I can still visualize this. Strange to say, I think I can still "hear" it, too.

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I feel that it's actually this transposition in movement and music that enhances the emotional impact of the narrative. I can watch graphic violence in a movie and not feel too upset while I'm moved by the plight of poor Nikiya in what could be described as a silly corny story.

This is a very accurate observation, for me at least. Sound and especially music increases my emotional involvement a lot and when a scene gets too upsettig I generally turn the volume down.

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With Prokofiev's score I think that's especially true. It's no secret that a horror movie without its music is hardly scary--especially for the "jump" moments.

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