So I need to start out with I wasn’t sure about going to this musical a couple weekends ago, it was this or Hamlet, and my one friend said “See The Great Comet, you won’t regret it!” and as I learned The Great Comet was closing the weekend after I was going to be in the city, we bought tickets. I wish I could go a hundred more times.
My friend and I went in not knowing what to expect, we both heard to buy mezzanine seats, so we did, and it was the most amazing experience I’ve ever been through. We walked in and it was like a maze finding out seats, but it wasn’t too terrible to find; we were in the front mezzanine. The first thing I noticed was the stage. They had designed a thrust stage, which means the stage goes into the audience, and we had staircases from the stage up into the mezzanine on either side. When the show began, we had actors come up in front, beside, and behind us, they explained “our” space and “their” space, and then the prologue commenced.
I’ve never seen a musical or play in a thrust theatre, but I do have to say it’s pretty amazing. Even in the Prologue song, we had actors dancing and singing in front of us. Speaking of singing, this show is completely done in song, so if you’ve listened to the soundtrack, you’ll know the basis of the show. I loved having action all around us. During “The Duel,” it turned into a rave and everyone was dressed in proper rave and or leather attire. It was awesome seeing people dance up and down the isles. The costumes were pretty cool, from 80s punk rock, to some classical russian clothing. I loved them all. The lighting was also phenomenal, I loved how they moved throughout the show, highlighting certain areas, or even representing the comet.
An interesting thing I found about the plot is the fact there isn’t really a main character. You can connect with Natasha, Pierre, Sonya, Maria, or even the secondary characters. The only character I couldn’t connect with was Prince Bolkonski, Andrei’s father. I did feel bad for Mary though, she had to stay home and watch over her crazy father while Andrei is off fighting in a war. I think if you haven’t listened to the music before hand you might have a slight disadvantage to understanding what is happening, but my friend seemed to enjoy it going in with minimal knowledge.
An interesting thing in contrast to seeing this show is we saw Alice Cooper the night before and Lady Gaga the night after and I think Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 blew both concerts out of the water. With so much going on around us, it was hard not to get swept away. I think everyone in the mezzanine was swept into their lives in Russia in 1812.