The musical Aida was written by Auguste Mariette based on Giuseppe Verdis Italian-language opera. 2nd Flight Productions using the stage at Chantilly High School performed the musical. The musical was based on the legend of Aida, the Nubian princess who was captured as a slave to Radames, the captain of Egypt. The performance is divided into two acts and it started with Radames fianci?? , Amneris, as a statue during the present times in a museum. The museum displayed a tomb with the carvings of a man and a woman buried together.
Amneriss statue begins to sing and tells the tale behind the tomb. The set for the museum was sufficiently constructed for the story. The tomb was realistic and the background sets of Egyptian writing were appropriate to the feeling and style. However, at first it was difficult to grasp who Amneris was when she sang because she was position center right and maybe a little down right of the stage. There were no other props that clearly indicated that she was part of the museum and that she was a statue. There was a back narrow parallel platform that elevated her separate from the ground.
The ensemble members were the museum tourists observing the artifacts. However they were on the ground level and there were no indications of them acknowledging her as a fellow artifact of the museum. Throughout the play, Aida is a strong character who deeply cares about her people. In the plot she hides her identity as the Nubian Princess to save her people. The actress did an amazing job portraying those characteristics. Her voice was powerful and so phenomenal that each song she sung moved me. Every emotion she evoked moved the audience through her acting and her singing.
There was moment where the actress belted out a song that described the struggles of being a princess of Nubia. Her body language was like a building wearing away and her facial expressions revealed pain and sorrow. Another moment that was very effective was when she finally accepted her love for Radames. Her body language was playful, her voice was light and her facial expression was soft and more youthful. She was the best and most excellent actress in the play. The lighting had its good effects and bad effects. During serious moments, the lighting was used well and isolated the light towards the main characters.
However, when the music became lively, the lighting was in all different colors, similar to a disco lighting, which I found unnecessary and sloppy for a historical musical. The costuming was decent as well but I expected more from a community theatre company. The costumes would be acceptable for a high school production but not a community one. The slave clothes were fine and tattered; however, the fabric was new and it appeared new from stage. Since the setting is in historical times, the fabric must invoke that. The costume for Aida throughout the play was in a shiny fabric that was glittery.
This was an anachronism since the setting, again, is in historical times. The ensemble was probably the poorest aspect of the play. In every act they were in, they were never in synch with each other. No one seemed to listen or hear each other. The ensembles made careless mistakes with their hands fidgeting, their eyes not focused and the acting did not seem like acting. In acting, the actor must have a purpose or goal to evoke good acting; however the ensemble did not do that. They moved around with unmotivated movement. Their dance, however, was stronger than their acting.
At times they were no in synch but they did decent on their dances. I wished that the ensemble danced with more diverse movements. The dances seemed a little parallel and conformed to the same movements at times. The ensemble men were Radames soldiers in the beginning and did a dance routine that had the characteristics of a march. The performance of the ensemble however, was poor. Their entire routine was not in synch and it was sloppy. In order to portray as soldiers, they should have had more cut and dry movements that were sharp and strict.
However, they performed as if they were relaxed and bored. It was more of a casual walk than a march. Towards the end the soldiers did an impressive break dance when the song lifted from its austere melody, however I found it unnecessary. Overall the musical was satisfactory as a community musical. The background music was appropriate, the main actors were excellent in portraying their characters and the songs were sung on key. Although there were many errors in setting, and ensemble members, the director succeeded in telling and portraying the story of Aida in a reasonable fashion.