Wednesday May 29, 2013 / 7:30pmFELA!
Second Mezzanine Center
How was your experience?
Fela The musical opens with lively music and dance, with Fela Kuti dressed in blue and white. He plays several instruments throughout the performance. Fela calls on the audience to participate in the music, and later in the dancing by having the entire audience stand and dance with the performers on stage. This goes on for more than twenty minutes. The show is about the place called Shrine, a café in; Nigeria in the 1970’s the music is an attack on the established government, and sung in pigeon English. In the second act, the Shrine is attacked by soldiers. By the use of video slides and spot lights on the performers who played those parts, the faces of those taken, and what happened to them is projected on the back wall. Lights indicating fire are projected on the back wall. Fela’s mother is killed during the attack. Her coffin becomes the center of the performance as dancers walk across the stage carrying small coffins that are stacked on top of Fela’s mother’s coffin. The play ends with Fela and his friends going on with his music, Afrobeat. Fela is performed on a proscenium stage. A balcony extends across the back of the stage and forward down left stage to the front. There is a ladder to the balcony toward the front, and a movable ladder with steps set at the right, which is used as a moving prop for the seen when Fela’s mother sings her advice to him after her death. The Afrobeat band is located left stage and under the balcony. The lighting is exceptional, and is used as the main prop throughout the production. Changing colors from blue to red sets the mood of each scene, and designs set in the lights create the stage for the dancers. Several scene changes were conducted by the use of bright, red lights that blurred your vision for an instance. Costumes are very colorful, Nigerian cloths. The women danced barefoot in all but one scene, the proposal scene where Fela asks to marry seven women and they all say yes, wear two inch heels. The men all wore leather shoes. The music is extraordinary and loud. The use of twelve speakers and three woofers, set on each side of the stage, fills the theatre and vibrates every seat. If you are hard of hearing, devices are provided. If you are not hard of hearing, ear plugs can be gotten in the main lobby. I was seated in the second mezzanine and could hear and see with no difficulty. I found the musical exhilarating. People were humming the music as they left the Paramount Theater. If you like lively music and great dancing, you will enjoy Fela. Parking can be difficult. I parked at the convention center, whose lot closes at midnight, and it was cheaper than most lots. As to what to wear, I saw everything from formals to cut-off jeans, but most people dressed casual.