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"The Lion King" Review by William Rodrigues

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    William Rodrigues

    Performance Reflection

    THEA 101

    1D02

    3/2/2015

    The Lion King

    2/28/2015

    Minskoff Theatre

    For my performance reflection I went to see the Broadway musical of The Lion King. It is about a young lion cub (Simba) who was deceived in believing that he had killed his father (Mufasa) but his uncle (Scar). After Mufasa died, Simba fled the land his father ruled and was raised in a jungle like area by Timon and Pumbaa. At the end of the show Simba fights Scar leading to Scar falling to his death and Simba reclaiming the land which was rightfully his. There were three sections of the play that really stood out to me and I felt like it stood out to many other members of the audience as well. One is the death of Mufasa, another is when Simba sees his father’s image after he had died and the last is the ending scene where Simba reclaims his kingdom. All these scenes in The Lion King had outstanding affects and details that helped to captivate the audience’s emotions in different aspects.

    One moment in The Lion King, is the death of Mufasa. In this scene Mufasa saves his son and climbs the side of the wall, which was to resemble climbing the side of a cliff. But once he approached to the top of the cliff, his brother scar throws him off, which is where Mufasa falls to his death. All the actors had costumes resembling their character such as all this lions had on lion uniform and a head piece that was a lion’s face. In this scene while Mufasa was falling to his death they used zip lines to help him fall from high grounds of the stages to the bottom. And while he was falling music was playing and the lights were flashing causing a very dramatic affect that captured everyone’s attention.

    The death of Mufasa changed the proceeding tone of the play. At first it was happy when Simba was learning how to be king under his father’s protection. But after Mufasa’s death it became sorrowful because Simba felt guilty of his father’s death since his father gave his life to save him. This scene made me feel grief in general because the moment after Mufasa died, Simba was talking to his father’s dead body telling him “You have to get up”, “You promised you will never leave me”. No one would want to see their father die or anyone else’s father die and I know I had the same exact emotions watching the movie. This scene captivated the entire audience’s emotions through the dramatic slow motion fall to the flickering light effects combined with the music.

    Another scene that I really thought was emotionally grasping was when Simba saw his father’s face when he needed him the most. In this scene Rafiki, which was a baboon played by an elderly African American lady, leads Simba to a waterhole and tells him to look in the water because his father is there. For the waterhole the stage had a hole in the ground and a circular figure representing the waterhole. But the part that amazed me was when backstage became pitch black and the face of Mufasa came up in lights. The lights were held by performers one can barely see because of the darkness.

    The scene at the waterhole had a mixture of emotions. At first Simba was lost and didn’t know what to do; if he wanted to stay in the jungle with Timon and Pumbaa or go save his kingdom from Scar. Then there was sorrow when Simba was talking to his father’s spirit because a part of Simba still didn’t want his father to leave him. Finally there was joy when Simba realizes who he is and what he must do, which was to go and save his kingdom. For me I was amazed seeing that scene take place because of the different affects going on. From the lights turning into Mufasa’s face and the scenery affects of leafs in the jungle, it all just added up into a great scene.

    The final scene of the play was quite amazing. This is where Simba takes his place at the top of the mountain symbolizing that he has taken his position as king. All the performers that portrayed animals surrounded the mountain, which was a part of the set that would come out of the ground in the center of the stage. It was quite amazing seeing how the mountain would come up in this proscenium stage. At this point the lights shined brightly onto the stage illuminating all the performers especially Simba.

    This was the resolution of the play so it brought closure to the play. Everyone in the audience started to standup while this was happening and started clapping. That showed that the audience did like the show and was happy with the performance. Something that caught my attention was that there was not one set age group or race in the audience. There were many different races and the age group went from little children to elderly adults. That showed the wide range of attraction to this performance and how many different people that were emotionally attracted to this play. I feel as if this scene was successful in capturing the feeling of hope in the fact that Simba will reclaim his kingdom.

    The Lion King changed my view on theatre performances. I was going into this show not expecting much, but I can honestly say I would go back to watch this same play another time. I would recommend this play to everyone. I feel like there is not one person that would watch this play and come out angry, besides the fact that all the condiments are overpriced the play itself compensates for that. For me it was difficult to find three specific scenes because in this musical I appealed more with a whole musical piece rather than just one specific scene. Nonetheless there were many scenes to choose from to write about, but I felt it would have been easier to write about a musical number that was performed. In summation, The Lion King was an amazing musical play that was filled with many emotions from laughter to sorrow and I would recommend it to anyone even if they don’t like theatre performances.

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