Tensions rise when trailblazing blues singer Ma Rainey and her band gather at a recording studio in Chicago in 1927.Tensions rise when trailblazing blues singer Ma Rainey and her band gather at a recording studio in Chicago in 1927.Tensions rise when trailblazing blues singer Ma Rainey and her band gather at a recording studio in Chicago in 1927.
The Legacy of Chadwick Boseman
When I say "angry with each other over nothing", I mean that situations explode in second and people shout or fight with each other over things that have not been emotionally conveyed to the audience. Very often, due to the directors of these two films sticking with the limited scope of filming a stage production, they both feel like a parody of a stage play.
The scenes with Viola Davis feel most worthy of being on screen because she has an understated honesty in her performance and a valid underlying statement to make. But what helps this the most is being outside of the filmed stage play environment.
Unfortunately, most of the film involves her band in a room, telling boring, scenery chewing stories. I don't care what the subject matter is if I'm not given a reason to emotionally invest in the characters. Anyone can put a talking head on-screen and have them tell a sob story.
The main issue is that not enough has been done to take the stage play material and make it fit for cinema. Take, as an example, A Few Good Men, which feels nothing like the stage play it is based on.
There are reasons why stage acting is different to screen acting; you need to project voice and action from a stage to reach the audience at the back of the theatre. You don't need to be as forceful on screen. SO CHANGE THE PERFORMANCE!
The epitome of this over-the-topness comes when Chadwick Boseman shouts at God for a prolonged period and expects a reply.
Theatre adaptationists: must do better.
- Feb 6, 2021