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Did Gilbert and Sullivan Wear Silk Stockings?

Happy Ides of March! Yesterday, Brad A. Latilla-Campbell ’16 notified me of yet another G&S reference he’d found in The West Wing. Clearly, Aaron Sorkin is a fellow Savoyard. Coincidentally, our blog post this week also features a Gilbert & Sullivan cultural reference, albeit of a … vastly different medium.


Written by Ned Sanger

1868-skirt-lengths-girl-ages-harpers-bazar
Harper’s Bazaar c. 1900

Gilbert and Sullivan show their plump faces in all sorts of places. I recently discovered one of the most absurd: a sordid passage in Chapter 5 of Ulysses. It begins when Mr. Leopold Bloom, the hero of the book and a cuckold, catches sight of a lady across the street. She is about to step into a cab, and he knows that as she does she’ll have to lift her dress slightly, which will briefly expose her silk stockings, as well as a slice of upper calf, or so he hopes. Continue reading “Did Gilbert and Sullivan Wear Silk Stockings?”

A Tale of Two Blog Posts

This week brings TWO mini blog posts with production updates.

Written by Alex Raun, February 22, 2017

 Last Friday, the lumber came in for the Sorcerer set, and the lighting design has been finalized! With build and lights underway now, be looking out for potential sneak peaks at the set in the coming weeks. Additionally, the Sorcerer cast and staff have been busy at rehearsals! Check out this video from last week’s orchestra rehearsal. While Johnnie conducts, Yuki Koide ‘17 is working on the challenging skill of playing her instrument while spinning in an office chair! Continue reading “A Tale of Two Blog Posts”

A Sorcerific Singthrough!

Written by Peryn Reeves-Darby

Last Saturday, the cast and a few excited staff members all made their way through the slush and the wind to the very first rehearsal of the semester. One by one we filed in. Upperclassman rushed to say “hello” to old friends from past shows, while the nervous freshmen eagerly introduced themselves, excited to make new friends. Continue reading “A Sorcerific Singthrough!”

Getting Ready for a Spring of Sorcery!

By Barra A. Peak

As our 60th Anniversary year draws to a close, we look forward to the beginning of another 60 years of HRG&SP!  What better way to kick off this new beginning than with The Sorcerer—Gilbert and Sullivan’s earliest surviving full-length collaboration?

The Sorcerer tells the story of the high-class Alexis’s fumbled attempts to make love “level all ranks” with the assistance of the sorcery and potions of J.W. Wells. Will Alexis’ ideals prevail, or will all return to the status quo after the hijinks that ensue? Unique in many respects from the rest of the G&S canon, The Sorcerer is essentially a mockery of classical opera, twisting its plot and musical tropes for comedic effect. “Novelty shows” of this type would become the basis for modern musical theatre.

We hope to see you next spring for HRG&SP’s 122nd production! Show dates are March 24-April 2. More information about specific performances and receptions will be coming soon!

 

With Joyous Shout

By Richard Tong

The curtains closed on our production of The Mikado a month ago, and since then things have been much quieter at HRG&SP. This post-show lull—too early to rehearse the next show, too late enjoy the fruits of the last—is precious to us in a number of ways. As well as allowing our sleeping patterns to return to a relatively respectable pattern and providing a much needed respite to catch up on neglected school work, this period of calm gives us time to take stock and reflect on The Mikado. Continue reading “With Joyous Shout”

Post-Show Rest and Looking Forward!

By Alexander J. Raun

 
After living in the theater for tech weeks and the run of The Mikado, the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert & Sullivan Players have spent the past week resting and catching up on a semester’s worth of school. However, with the closing of one show comes the opening of the next, and we have started initial preparations for The Sorcerer, which will take place in the spring semester! The dates for the show include the weekends of March 24th and March 31st, 2017. We hope to see you there!
Additionally, despite our week of rest, we somehow couldn’t resist the stage, and on Saturday, November 12th, we performed a few G&S numbers in the Hasty Pudding Theatricals annual Fall Variety Show! The songs came from HMS Pinafore, Ruddigore, and The Mikado. Performers in the HPT Fall show included Aaron Slipper ’18, Arianna Paz ’19, Richard Tong ’19, Jake Corvino ’19, Sydney Mukasa ’18, and Alex Raun ’17. Thank you to all who came out to support us, and we hope to perform in the show again next year!

Mikado 2016 Historical Note & FAQ

Written by Ashley Zhou ’17 and Kat C. Zhou ’17

We distributed this document at the box office during the run of the show. Some of the responses to the FAQ have been revised slightly in order to clarify and enrich my original answers, which were written in haste before opening. 

A Brief Historical Note

The history of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, as with so many beloved Victorian cultural artifacts, is a history of imperialism: Western imperial powers’ thirst for dominance in an economic system they saw as a zero-sum game, the ever-growing urgency to find more trading partners, the dehumanization of non-white peoples as justification for conquest couched in paternalistic rhetoric of civilizing missions and Christianization. Of Commodore Matthew Perry docking gunboats in Tokyo Bay and calling the result of his actions, even to this day, an “opening,” as if to read choice into Japan’s forced entry into Western-controlled systems of trade and to turn away from the violence of that historical moment. Of the political upheaval of the Meiji Restoration, a direct response to this act of U.S. imperialism, and the economic consequences of the new government on Japanese people, many of whom emigrated, in the first large-scale Japanese migration to the U.S., to find opportunities on the West Coast or in Hawai’i, itself under the rule of white settler colonists.

Continue reading “Mikado 2016 Historical Note & FAQ”

Mikado Opening

Written by Kat C. Zhou ’17

Beware this is a long post! See section headers to find specific content.

This has been a whirlwind process, one that has even hit national news! I wanted to use this blog post to share some of my thoughts on what the show does, and what it might continue to think about for the future. I hope also to include voices (reactions from both longtime G&S fans and students on campus) besides my own in this post.

I spent time looking through the Crimson archives to see if I could find information on previous HRG&SP production of The Mikado. I believe that there have been 12 production of The Mikado in HRG&SP history, and as far as I can see, this is the first non-yellowface production (loosely categorizing the anime Mikado of 1997 as a form of yellowface), making the fall 2016 production of The Mikado a historically unprecedented one!

It is a paradox (a paradox!) to live in the present, surrounded by reminders of history, knowing that the present is constantly slipping away into the past. What might it mean to forget and to remember? This is a central question that has haunted me throughout the entire production process of The Mikado, and it is a question to continue to grapple with even after we have opened, even years from now.

Continue reading “Mikado Opening”