and the cast burst into song.
A guide to enjoyment of a musical drama, musical comedy, operetta.
Sit back, relax, and prepare for ridiculousness. First you will be introduced to the "setting" wherein you will learn more about the story than you will at any other point in the piece as the contralto bursts into song.
Soon the players will appear on the stage Not the protagonist or the heroine* but a bunch of villagers, or hangers-on, or siblings. The chorus will burst into song.
Finally the story will begin, the lead will appear on stage and strut his stuff, bursting into song. The story-line, or plot, if there is one, will not be advanced during this performance which bids well to last eight minutes.
And so on and so forth until the end of Scene One, when the villagers again burst into song.
Scene Two may be introduced by the lead lady, the soprano who, bursting into song, bids well to exceed the length of the protagonist's previous solo. By a lot.
Something may or may not happen, and the chorus will burst into song. The orchestra will play the number to a crescendo, or frenzy, or whatever it is called and the curtain will fall on Act One.
You will be truly grateful to stand and move around, for you have rigor setting in from your tailbone to your toes. And also from your tailbone to your cerebrum, for act one was a mere one hour thirty. You will refresh yourself with a walk in the foyer, nodding and smiling at your fellow-Pharisees, and a stroll to the facility.
Back in your seat, Act Two, Scene One. Here we take a moment to appreciate that this is a "play in two acts," the curtain will rise on an empty stage! The orchestra bursts into the theme music and protracts it long enough for you to develop a true appreciation of the set. You will travel from cardboard castle to plywood desert, from tempera mountains to the skyline of Camelot, or wherever, in the distance. Your eyes will wander to the wings, the ropes, the pulleys, the klieg lights and then. . . then the serfs or whomever will fill the stage, bursting into song!
The soprano and the baritone will reappear and burst into song, chopping phrases back and forth as the orchestra again achieves frenzy; the conductor will topple over and crush the first chair violinist where she sits. The audience bursts into song!
The drama in the pit, the most excitement to this point, is cleared and the script moves ahead, but the story line itself seems to go nowhere. The siblings reappear and burst into song. The curtain falls, but no, there is yet another scene.
The soprano, solo on stage, pierces the rafters, warbles wistfully, folds gracefully to the ground. The baritone rushes in, kneels, grasps her hand, moans her name, in song of course. She dies. The audience bursts into song. The entire ensemble appears around the supine body moaning a dirge. Curtain.
*A few days ago I was listening to a brand-name actor describing his role in a new movie in which he described, briefly, his relationship to the heroine, which he pronounced with four, count them, four syllables-- hair-oh-ine-ee. If this was his attempt to distinguish her from the other addictive euphoria-inducing substance, it fails. He needs to check his English dictionary. I am not making this up.