Moulin Rouge: love and loss in dance

showgirlsI’ve been remiss in not posting about this sooner – but schedules have been such that it was only this weekend that I managed to see Moulin Rouge, the latest show performed by Alma Fushikizoh and Blysse Biondi’s Showgirls. And I wish I’d seen it sooner.

Putting on any live show in Second Life is never easy, as any artist will tell you. A “simple” concert can be prone to a wide variety of problems at the best of times, particularly when Second Life wants to really misbehave and start crashing people. When you’re trying to combine a stage piece with live / streamed music and / or Voice, the issues can frequently be compounded – trying to get everyone moving at the right time, combatting lag, ensuring dances are correctly synced, the music is streaming correctly – it all takes time, patience, understanding and a lot of hard work by the cast and crew.

mr-20

As such, Moulin Rouge – which is probably best described as a dance interpretation of key songs and scenes from Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 version of the film Moulin Rouge! which featured Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor and John Leguizamo – is a daring undertaking.

Conceived by Blysse Biondi, directed by Alma Fushikizoh, and produced by Alma, Blysse and Ayesha Lytton, and with choreography by Alma and Dixie Barbosa (animations), the show currently runs through until the 24th of March, with performances on Saturday and Sunday nights commencing at 18:00 SLT at the Balboa Theatre in San Diego – and it really is worth seeing.

Moulin Rouge is being staged at the Balboa Theatre, March 16/17 and 23/24 at 18:00
Moulin Rouge is being staged at the Balboa Theatre, March 16/17 and 23/24 at 18:00

With a cast of ten, and dance numbers of significant complexity – performers being both synced to one another and to the music while at times performing entirely separate dance sequences to one another – Moulin Rouge really does need to be seen, rather than described. The stage sets themselves are both original and familiar, encompassing both the famous red windmill of Le Moulin Rouge itself, as well as representing the interior of the great cabaret club in a reflection of scenes from Luhrmann’s movie.

Moulin Rouge: Satine (Jaine Elvehjem) flanked by Christian (Mischievious John) and Toulouse Lautrec (Mishimaishi Resident) with the Showgirl dancers in one of the show's several complex routines
Moulin Rouge: Satine (Jaine Elvehjem) flanked by Christian (Mischievious John) and Toulouse Lautrec (Mishimaishi Resident) with the Showgirl dancers in one of the show’s several complex routines

Each dance interprets a key scenes from the film, including Satine’s arrival via trapeze, Jacek Koman’s gutteral rendition of Roxanne in El Tango Roxanne, together with The Show Must Go OnNature Boy and Hindi Sad Diamonds, and, of course, Come What May. With a total of eight dance “acts”, the entire show runs for some 30 minutes, and not even SL deciding to be especially mischievous on the night I sat down in the theatre (a dancer crashed immediately prior to curtain-up, then two more suffered the same fate during El Tango Roxanne – one of who was operating the stage HUD) could dampen the enthusiasm of both cast and audience.

El Tango Roxanne - Moulin Rouge
El Tango Roxanne – Moulin Rouge

As mentioned above, Moulin Rouge has four more performances currently planned for the Balboa Theatre, on the 16th, 17th, 23rd and 24th March. It is a show worth seeing.

Tips on Attending

Live performances in virtual worlds frequently face challenges such as lag. Virtual Dance is no exception to this, particularly as it involves a lot of scripting and gestures. To assist in the audience’s enjoyment of the show, therefore, patrons attending any presentation of Moulin Rouge are respectively asked to consider:

  • Arriving early: performances can be held up as a result of a lot of people arriving just before the curtain is due to go up, and who inevitably suffer rendering delays, problems getting audio streaming active, etc. A slightly earlier arrival ensures these things can be dealt with easier and without the fear of missing part of the show
  • Reducing lag both in the viewer and on the region where the performance is taking place by: removing any heavily scripted HUDs and other items; wearing lower-prim hair; dispensing with the bling;  turning off nametags / Show Lookat to reduce the number of things your viewer has to process
  • Making sure all microphones are off if Voice is used within SL. If someone does leave their microphone open, the gentle thing to do is to open the “Active Speakers” list or “Nearby Voice” list, select the person, and roll the volume slider at the bottom of the window down
  • Keeping calm: most performances encourage audience reactions in local chat.  It helps the performers know that you are there and having a good time.   However, please save such noisemaking until it is time to applaud
  • Turning on Quiet Snapshots, if taking photos.
Christian and
Christian (Mischievious John) and Satine (Jaine Elvehjem) in the finale of Moulin Rouge

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4 thoughts on “Moulin Rouge: love and loss in dance

  1. The whole project was indeed ambitious and brave, with so many performers onstage and the need for perfectly synchronised dance routines, plus the audio streaming. To combat SL’s foibles, they implemented a clever and interesting solution: the stage was in a region adjacent to the one the audience was in.

    There were the issues you mentioned; thankfully, the audience remained calm, supportive and understanding, helping the cast and crew manage to run things smoothly. In general, it was a really good show that I would recommend to anyone.

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    1. Thank you Inara, for the kind review! I hope to see you and “Slutrix” back for a smoother run! 🙂 *kisses*

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      1. Thank you Alma for your nice show and the great effort. I said it last night, I’ll say it again from here: Congratulations, you did some really great work. 🙂

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  2. This is another of those things that should be better promoted, it’s a very good use case of Second Life, although ten performers on stage plus an audience is indeed a challenge.

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