Sweeney Todd Analysis Essay
Sweeney Todd Analysis
The stage was quite large with a multi-level set. B) The set was dimly lit before the show and eerie music was playing to create a spooky atmosphere. C) Before the show, I could tell that there was going to be a lot of shady actions taking place due to the appearance of the dingy street setting. D) Sweeney Todd took place on a proscenium stage, where the audience was looking in upon the scene as if a wall were missing. E) The space seemed to have adequately met the needs for the production, because the set was very tall and involved several methods of moving from level to level. SCENERY:
A) The set consisted of several run-down store fronts with very dim lighting and an early 20th century London feel. The top level of the set held the barber shop near stage right, and a bedroom balcony at stage left. The bottom level housed the bakery and the basement of the bakery, which included a glowing fire oven. B) The age and nature of the buildings hinted at the setting and time of the story. The implied shadiness of the set foreshadowed about the nature of the characters. C) The colors of the set involved many shades of grey and brown, with the inclusion of red lighting at times.
D) The designer was very successful in the set design, because it was easy to visualize the intended setting due to the use of area lighting. When a portion of the set was not involved in the scene, it was blacked out making it easier to focus on the scene at hand. E) I felt that the bright red lighting shining from the oven was very symbolic, in that it went hand-in-hand with a shrill sound effect that was played every time a character was killed. The lighting and the sounds symbolized Sweeney Todd’s revenge. COSTUMES:
A) The beggar woman’s costume portrayed that she was homeless due to the dirty rags that made up her dress. The style of clothing (length and material of the dress) hinted at the time as well. Pirelli’s costume was very flamboyant which matched his over confident and swindling personality. His personality was often only skin deep, and his costume played perfectly with the front he was putting on. B) The dingy colors of the beggar woman’s clothes fit the homeless role well and also played well with the concept of keeping her identity secret until the end of the show.
Her clothes did not make her stand out on stage. Pirelli, on the other hand, wore bright red with ruffles, making him seem bright and villainous at the same time. C) The designer did very well with the costumes, because they fit the characters’ personalities. For example, Mrs. Lovett was a very bold and outspoken woman, therefore her large, fluffy dress represented her well. LIGHTING: A) The lighting was kept seemingly dim throughout the show, which upheld the dreary, somber atmosphere in the scenes.
B) The lighting seemed to portray night more often than day, as it only seemed to brighten when the focus was on Johanna. Red lighting was used to show when a character was killed and dumped into the oven. C) The most obvious use of lighting to portray emotion was the red, fire-like light that would emerge from the oven when a character was killed. Also, when Sweeney Todd was intended to appear as a man thirsty for revenge, he was encompassed in fog and the light created shadows on his face. ACTING: A-B) Sweeney Todd was excellent in my opinion. He wore a grey shirt with brown pants and suspenders.
His body language was high-strung and motivated but also haggard and aged at the same time. The beggar woman was played with great success as well. The show progressed without much attention being brought upon her until her identity was revealed to Todd and the audience. She wore a bonnet and a dirty dress, and she was usually somewhat crouched to make her seem unimportant. Both of these characters performed well in singing their musical numbers as well. C) The scene where Anthony was serenading Johanna as she sat on the balcony served as an impressive portrayal of the connection between them.
Johanna’s singing was very high-pitched. Needless to say it was hard not to notice the significance of this scene. I also enjoyed the murder scenes, simply because of the operational barber’s chair that doubled as a trap door leading to the downstairs oven. D) Every actor gave stellar performances in my opinion. E) The whole team had great chemistry and the show progressed without a hitch. The opening scene involved most, if not all, of the characters singing and moving in unison, and it was virtually seamless. DIRECTING:
A) The director was trying to show the audience how revenge can drive a person to do some very crazy things, and the result was a success. B) Everything about the show conglomerated together successfully to create the setting and the emotional atmosphere. The overall uneasy, creepiness was constructed and supported well by the lighting, costumes, and scenery. C) Only the love scenes between Anthony and Johanna strayed away from the eeriness of the story, but even then the audience could sense possible turmoil to come. D) The movement and timing was excellent throughout the show.
With bodies dropping down trap doors and synchronized group movements, the blocking was much without flaw. TEXT: A-B) The plot is out of chronological order because it starts with the townspeople burying Todd. He then arises to tell his tale, which consists of the judge ruining his life by exiling him. The plot of Todd’s story involves him meeting Mrs. Lovett and working to seek revenge on the judge and anybody else who stands in the way. The playwright is emphasizing the power that the motivation of revenge can have on a person.
C) The conflict entails the judge having custody of Todd’s daughter, Johanna, and Todd’s efforts to retrieve her and kill the judge. D) Sweeney Todd eventually kills the judge, the beggar woman, and Mrs. Lovett, and then he is killed by Toby. This leaves Johanna to be with Anthony. E) As an editor, the only thing I would change about the show would be the length of the musical numbers throughout the show. They seemed longer than necessary and I felt as though some important information was unnecessarily presented in lyrics instead of straight dialogue.