Written by By Staff Writer
I write a lot about social media, and at many points in my career, I’ve been a regular on it. When I would write articles about Broadway shows in the early 2000s, Twitter was the first place that most theatergoers, critics and theater owners would read them. That’s why it was so strange to me when, a few months back, I logged into my favorite social media account in the world and saw a message from someone who was saying that I “almost let go of a sacred stream of scripted greatness.” I was flabbergasted and, since this was coming from someone who has always considered myself an unusually sensitive person, flabbergasted both to find such an insult in his own language and to feel such a slap in the face.
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When that statement came to me as a result of a Facebook page I follow (for days on end), I responded by inviting him to come watch the musical “Mary Poppins” with me. For those of you unfamiliar with that page, it is a person who like me, first came onto the social network during the Obama administration. Two years ago, he felt moved to share his reaction to “Hamilton,” a show that I had consistently found myself Googling about for years.
This was the same theatergoer who had tweeted me comments about the musicians in the show — an expert high-frequency analyst and highly in-demand studio technician, I think the best description that someone can offer for his taste.
My Twitter message to this man; he admitted that he read some of it and laughed, because it so resembled an insult.
It was then that I thought, I’m going to try to figure out this problem.
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I decided to experiment, and the result was a couple of videos I made on my phone while looking at the monitor at the theater that I’m lucky enough to be so used to. In one, I used the tips of my fingers to make an arrow in the second act of “Mary Poppins” while looking at the screen. The image is still familiar from my memories of looking at the browser screen, but it’s a very easy way of connecting us to the show and engaging with it from a more conscious emotional and intellectual perspective.
The test still made me feel a little uneasy, and I usually turn my phone off before sitting down to watch a show. But the one thing I couldn’t let go of is the wonderful Harry Potter musical, “Hamilton,” which I have taken to heart since high school. When we’re on the streets and on the train, the magic, intrigue and dynamic banter between these characters that I love so much just give me a warm fuzzy.
I wanted to share those magical moments with people who can’t take themselves to the theater in person. And because those magic moments have an immense power to make us feel like part of something bigger than ourselves, I wanted to capture them so that others could get in on the experience and feel the magic, too.
The camera and monitor were also playing tricks on me: In this case, I was falling in love with the design of the theater itself, which had the effect of infusing it with energy and excitement. All these different emotions happened simultaneously.
In my next post, I wanted to try one more thing to make sure that I brought some of those feelings back to the Facebook page: videos that show me putting the action of a show in the background and turn into quotes and storyboards about what’s happening in the scene.
The same scene, performed by other people, showing a young boy being transformed into an adult, allowing him to think of himself as Alexander Hamilton.
I still want to find a way to bring all of these magical moments together in one video. And, in the end, I want to understand why I do that.