Reflection on Passing Strange

The play, ‘Passing Strange’ carries with it a major theme which is surrealism and this can also be termed as the main message in the entire play. The play depicts a cultural movement majorly as portrayed with the range of music that is put across over time and the majestic display of visual art. The play reveals life lived in chasing dreams to an extent that the dreams become part of the life and brings the feeling that an individual can as well life in a dream. In my personal life, there are those dreams that I have been, chasing one after another to the extent that I get the feeling that I leave a life full of dreams or driven by dreams.

A common feature of the play is the deep involvement of music in the play. There is a variety of music genres and these include punk, funk, rock, R & B and even gospel music. Inclusion of these genres helps in understanding the evolution of the storyline as various genres are associated with various parts. Examples of outstanding music in the play include music by Burt Bacharach and Kurt Weil.

There is the use of set and lights in the play and this contributes towards the audience experience with the play. This makes the play more of a memory play with the lights stressing the fact that characters are just but the essence of the persons they ought to be. A perfect example is in the character Stew. The set and the lights are used to construct the character of stew as the impressions made by them symbolises Stew recollecting what makes him, as all that is based on impressions.

Costumes are an important part of the play and they tell a lot about the characters. Characters in the play are chasers of dreams, they want to become something new at different stages and this is reflected in their costumes. The Youth for example thinks that there is something real. Thus the Youth strives to be that which is real until the target is achieved. However when such a target has been achieved, the Youth realises that that ‘Real’ belongs to someone else and another ‘Real’ has to be pursued. The costumes associated in the pursuit of the ‘Real’ helps explain the characters and the theme of the play.

The play ‘Passing Stranger’ has a number of similarities with a number of plays I have watched before in theatres. Among these include the artistic use of lights and costumes to help convey themes and messages in plays. Theatre is all about the visualization and when lights and costumes are used appropriately, then the message in plays are conveyed to the viewers just appropriately.

However, there is one clear difference between the play ‘Passing Strange’ and other plays I have watched theatres. The play heavily indulges music. A variety of genres are included in the play as described in this paper, a feature not so common with most plays as a few genres probably portraying a culture or two are include. However, this is understandable as the play is an explanation of a journey of dreams and self-discovery.


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