Friday, 25 October 2013

Making the magic of theatre happen

I am really blessed to have the opportunity to be involved with theatre. The greatest thing about theatre is the people that make theatre happen.
Our current production is very special. I have never before met so many people who are so special. Sometimes I feel like I just do not belong in the precence of these exceptional people. The least I can hope for is that I will be able to learn a little bit from them and just a tiny bit of the genius would rub off.
The show was written and directed by Cameron Lawry. I am honored to be able to say that I worked with Cameron. When he approached Protea with the proposal to stage his show, not everybody believed he could pull it off, but Protea was willing to giving him the chance. Hooray to Protea for being so brave to give such a young man the chance. Cameron not only pulled it off. He pulled it off big time. He did not only show Protea he can do it. He showed the world that he can do it. I am sure that we will see him go on and reach great hights.
It was so great to witness the support that Cam got from his parents. Debby and Neville had to make many sacrifices to support their son over the six months period. I am so glad that it all paid off in the end. The team of Cam, Debby and Neville can really be proud of what they achieved.
Musical theatre is by far the most collaborative form of art that I know of. It is impossible to make the magic happen on your own. You need to be able to make many work together and you need many more to support you to make it happen. When it all comes together the magic of theatre happens.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

What is rock opera?

Wikipedia defines a rock opera as a work of rock music that presents a storyline told over multiple parts, songs or sections in the manner of opera.
The LA rock opera company virtually copies that definition: a work of rock music that presents a dramatic story told over multiple songs in the traditional manner of opera.
The free dictionary defines it as albums of rock music that aspired to the status of art; first appeared in the 1960s. Are we not blessed that we do not have to rely on dictionaries any more!
Here are just some of my observations.
Looking at videos of rock operas online, it becomes clear that the format of rock opera is fairly open ended. Some rock operas have impressive backdrops and sets. Others have none at all. Some rock operas have impressive choreography. Others have none. While many rock operas are close to musical theatre with actors acting and the band hidden in the pit (e.g. Jesus Christ Superstar), in some rock operas, the band forms an intergral part of the show (e.g. Tommy, The wall).
The one common aspect of rock opera is that all the songs together makes up a central theme or story, and usually must be performed in a specific order. There are some rock operas out there where the songs are more closely related to the directors favorites playlist, but I would place those rather in the category of juke box musicals. Most successful rock operas consist of songs written specifically for the show.

Friday, 11 October 2013

The exile, the musical

The Exile is a musical in 2 acts, with book by Edward Swardt and music and lyrics by Eric Swardt. The story starts on freedom day celebrations, ten years after the first democratic election in South Africa, when Tyler, a young man who grew up without a father, learns from his mother that his father went into exile and dedicated his life to the liberation of the country. When Tyler observes how his mother's is friend misbehaves, Tyler decides to search for his father and bring him back.

The exile can be performed by 8 actors. The lead roles are

  • Tyler, a young man looking for his father
  • Melissa, Tyler's friend
  • Pamela, Tyler's mother
  • Hugo, Tyler's father who went into exile

The supporting roles are

  • Anthony, Pamela's friend
  • Cathy, Hugo's friend
  • Neil, Hugo's friend
  • Manual, Hugo's friend

The cast of The exile can further be extended to include extra roles for a young Hugo and a young Pamela. The actors can double roles to perform in the chorus line, or a seperate chorus can include anything from 4 to 10 characters. All roles are for adult actors.

The exile includes a variety of musical styles, with some rock, blues and Broadway influences, as well as love songs. You can listen to the songs recorded for the concept album.

The music can ideally be performed by a 6 piece band with drums, bass, 2 guitars, piano and keyboards, but depending on the available budget, the keyboard parts can be performed by a larger orchestra, including up to 24+ String (Violins, Violas, Celi), 3 winds (Oboe, flute, clarinets) and 4 brass (Trumpets, trombones)


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Is the number of social media managers declining?

I do not usually comment on other blogs on this blog. I know shooting at others give them good reason to shoot back. A recent blog post, Why the decline in social media managers is a good thing got me thinking however. The article actually states that the number of social media managers grew by 50%. Thing is just that previously, the growth percentage was much higher (it does not say). Well, a 50% growth is not a decline.

I do not want to debate the issue of declining social media managers. I want to debate the trend of people trying to attract traffic to their blogs or web sites with catchy headlines - but with false information. It is clear to me that the author of abovementioned blog article either a) do not understand basic mathematics, or b) tried to use a catchy (but false) heading to attract attention. I will give the author the benefit of doubt and assume the latter.

I do not want to make this personal. Point is.

A heading in twitter grabbed my attention. I clicked on the link. First job of social media is to attract traffic to your web site or blog or whatever. The second job of social media is to convert the traffic to sales. This heading succeeded in the first job very effectivly.

Question is - did it convert my feet to a sale?

I think not. After I realised that the heading was false, I felt a bit cheated. I felt like I was tricked into following a false link. The author offer his social media services on his site. Will I make use of his services.. Most likely not. I do not feel that I can trust him. In my view this was like any spam advertising. This kind of advertising creates traffic, but the convertion ratio to sales is very low.

On the other hand, it works. If spam did not work, people would have stopped doing it. Even though convertion rates to sales is very low, clearly, people are spamming more and more every day. Here is the reason why.

One percent (1%) of a million is still more than ten percent (10%) of a thousand. Want to see it mathematically?

1% X 1,000,000 > 10% X 1,000

Proof: 1% X 1,000,000 = 10,000 and 10% X 1,000 = 100.

If you are honest you get very few clicks. Say, only a thousand. Because you are honest one in every ten people who clicked on your link will buy. You sell 100. But, by lying to people you create lots of traffic. Say you get a million clicks. Because you lied, fewer peoply fall for your trick, and only one out of every hundred who clicked on your link will buy. That is still a whopping ten thousand. That is good business.

Many do not care. In fact, people became used to it. The few of us who do care are dying out. In some country they have a law for schemes like this. It is called a "419 scheme". Soon that law will be regarded as archaic. The 419'ers will take over the world. We will all follow them, give them our money and bleed like good zombie sheep.