Once, In a Lifetime

Press, Random

Marketa Irglova. Photo credit Farah Joan Fard.

I admit, seeing Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova perform in Boston in 2008 was a bit of a challenge. Well, not the viewing of the performance, but the press coverage.

I was a big fan of the film and the music and very excited that their tour manager so kindly responded to my press inquiry.

Perhaps they were not anticipating such a turnout? They said that they had been used to smaller cafe venues. The lighting was set up as if we were in a cafe, not an arena. The stage was set up in such a way that created some obstacles for someone as short as myself, trying to snap photos.

However, they were gracious hosts and very humble. They invited a busker they had seen on Comm. Ave to play a few songs with them.

The songs from the film, Once, as well other songs from The Swell Season, rounded out my senior year of college.

I could not have been more excited for the recognition and awards given to recognize their talent, and am intrigued by the new musical rendition of Once on Broadway.

Reviews online and by the musical theater professionals I know tell me that it is beautiful.

Glen Hansard. Photo credit Farah Joan Fard.

This leads me to the question of musicals based on films. I suppose this can be as much of a gamble as the transfer of a story from book to film, or play to film. Even musical to film.

Sometimes I am more curious to see how elements of a film will be portrayed live, and how well songs are built out of the story. For instance, Legally Blonde. Granted, I have still never seen any of the films, but I was pleasantly surprised by the stage version. It was very funny, and the choreography was pretty intense for some numbers. I am not sure how anyone managed breath support with some of those moves.

This interview mentions Once more as a play with music, which I appreciate. Some shows work great with music but the songs don’t carry well through the integration. I have a feeling this may not be the case for Once, since the songs within the film felt very organic with the story.

What do you think? Film to musical-a bad idea? Natural? Please let me know if you have seen any performances of Once or other film inspired shows, and what you thought!

Congrats again to the cast and creators of Once!


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