Transport. Can too much info take away from art?
For Valentine's Day, I took my boyfriend to see a new musical called Transport at the Irish Repertory Theatre. First of all, I'm a sucker for musicals and the music was described online as "traditional Irish music mixed with a contemporary Folk-Rock & Broadway resonance." I imagined it being something similar to the music from Once, which in itself was enough to get me pumped. What's even cooler is that the book is written by Thomas Keneally, the guy who wrote Schindler's List! The music started immediately... and it never really stopped! Obviously it's a musical and is supposed to have musical numbers, but by the end of it all I could count the number of spoken lines on one hand. It was almost as if the music was written first and then a few lines were added in here and there to try to make the show more fluid. I'm not saying I didn't like the music - It's just that it all seemed to move so quickly. Five minutes into the show, I consulted my playbill to check the name of the current song and found to my surprise that the actors were already onto the fifth song. When did that happen?
One of the things that held me was the lead actress, Kate O'Hara. Her voice was seriously on point and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. With all the Irish folk dancing and singing, the stage sometimes looked like a real party. Although, judging by the astonishing number of snoozing senior citizens in the audience (there were seriously like 7 in my row alone), I didn't get the feeling that many people were into it. But, over a week later, I still wake up with some of the songs from the show in my head. This one song in particular, actually, called Australia (although in the show it's pronounced Aw-stray-lee-ay).
I've given a lot of thought about Transport, and the feeling I had of being let down in some way after having seen it. And I've come to the conclusion that Transport wasn't responsible for disappointing me; It was my expectations. Who knows? If I could have gotten over what I wanted the show to be, perhaps I could have appreciated what the show was. I know that no matter how uninformed a person is when they see theatre, they always have some idea of that particular show. But does the world of information at our fingertips (play descriptions, reviews, interviews, etc) take away from the art itself?