Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:13 am
Awesome Acting Class Assignment
I began a Fundamentals of Acting class this semester and I am really enjoying it. I've worked with the professor in shows before and so I'm familiar with some of her methods, but this was a surprise assignment that I loved. She told us to go onto Youtube and watch many different versions of actresses portraying Mama Rose. I gave a little fangirl gasp when she said that. I watched Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Liza Minelli, Betty Buckley, Tyne Daly, and Bette Midler perform "Rose's Turn." The following are my notes after watching each performance. I'd like to see if you all agree with my assessments!
Bernadette Peters: Her anger is more controlled and her tension is expressed mostly in her facial expressions. At times she is slightly teary. Except for choreography, physicality is very minimal.
Patti Lupone: She's on the verge of being insane! Sghe is much more satirical and mocking of burlesque at the very beginning and far more physical in performance. She runs around the stage a lot. Her hands are everywhere!
Liza Minelli: The video I watched seemed to be a Liza Minelli concert, because she was wearing some sort of sparly jumpsuit rather than a Mama Rose costume. As is typical with Liza, she is playing Liza singing Rose's Turn, rather than playing Rose. She takes more liberties with the rhythms in the song.
Tyne Daly: She begins a lot like a bitter mother-in-law. Her physical mockery of burlesque is my favorite. As she realizes the magnitude of the situation, she begins to pace a little frantically. She’s really bitter rather than lost, afraid, and enraged.
Betty Buckley: She seems much more choreographed than the others, and she uses peek-a-boo legs a lot. She starts off really angry in the monologue. Then she gets dreamy before breaking very loudly into song. When she gets to “Mama …” she demonstrates physical rather than just emotional pain by clutching her stomach. She throws down her necklace in physical violence demonstrating her anger. At the end, she looks like she’s about to “lose it” before she pulls herself together for the last “For Me!” with a really determined stance and powerful belt.
Bette Midler: Vocals are obviously a lot more “pop” than the others. Garters and lace bra are part of the “main attraction.” She uses her costume as a prop more than the others. I'm not sure if I like that. The end of the monologue was great, but I got more emotion from the others than I did from this one. She seemed lost at the end, like she’d given up instead of being determined to move on. However, it was clear the way she was playing it that Rose was trying to hold on to her loud, brass self instead of slipping into uncertainty, but that she wasn’t winning that battle.
Overall, each woman portrayed Mama Rose very differently, but with similarities along the way. Someone in my class actually watched Kurt from Glee singing Rose's Turn as one of their options. While it was probably good, it certainly does not deserve to be compared to those listed above. It was not meant to be a performance of Mama Rose. I'm not totally sure I like the adaptation of Mama Rose being used in Kurt's situation, but that's just my opinion. I'm not a diehard of the show, but I think it has its merits. That, however, is a different topic for a different time.
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:29 am
Location: New York
Current Obsession: Overcoming illness
Main Role: Performer
Re: Awesome Acting Class Assignment
I recommend you watch Angela Lansbury and Ethel Merman's renditions, too! They were two of the best...Midler, not so much. Anyway, I really enjoy reading people's "notes" on a performance.
"Ms. Darbus" in Disney's High School Musical, "Margot Frank" in The Diary of Anne Frank, "Princess Number Twelve" in Once Upon a Mattress, ensembles of Cinderella, The Music Man, and Sweeney Todd
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:56 pm
Current Obsession: Billy Bigelow
Main Role: Director
Re: Awesome Acting Class Assignment
I love these types of assignments. This is the sort of stuff I do for fun...doing it for a grade would be like a dream come true, lol.