Bat Boy: The Musical





Intro to Theatre TH102


Reaction Paper #1


11/04/03


The play Bat Boy: The Musical is the product of an historic alliance between the Weekly World News and three authors from Los Angeles. This wonderful production combines the journalism of the Weekly World News with the power of song. It’s a creative theatrical production based on the alleged sightings of a mysterious “bat child”, half-boy and half-bat, reported by tabloid newspapers.


The protagonist of the production is the Bat Boy. We see him go through many changes throughout the course of the play. In the beginning he appears as a scared and strange creature. He then transforms into what he sees to be a regular boy, but reality comes back to him quickly as he realizes he will never be a typical human boy. I felt that the antagonist of the play was Dr. Thomas Parker. It’s difficult for me to make a choice on this because everyone at one time or another was opposing the Bat Boy.


The play was communicated through many different elements. Dialogue was presented with spoken language in sometimes extreme ways. The use of language volume helped to get many points of excitement and anger across to the audience. Action in this play helped us to see the fear of the Bat Boy from the very beginning. His rapid movement across the stage and the shaking of his cage are examples of how the Bat Boy showed us the fear he felt. The use of props such as smelly smoke pellets were also used to help the audience get a sense of what it would be like to be near the Bat Boy. Music and dance were also used as a main tool to communicate the feelings and motives in the play.


This production is a farcical comedy that moves nicely from slapstick to drama. It is full of witty dialogue and songs, tabloid worthy plot twists, and feigned seriousness .I feel that the play was straightforward. I could see where some audience members might not feel the same. It has many ideas that I believe have deeper meaning. The production was humorous, startling, absurd and sometimes frightening.


The plot of the play was very interesting. I had no idea what type of story line a playwright could create with such a topic as a Bat Boy. I was extremely impressed with the creative premise of this production. As an audience member I could tell from the very beginning that this would be a dramatic play with an intense plot. The emergent meaning was well done. As the play begins and the teenage siblings locate the Bat Boy in the cave, you see that he is not human by his action of biting the young girl. The kids bring the boy back to town, hoping the creature will be destroyed. Fortunately for the musical’s plot the sheriff delivers him to the local veterinarian, whose family takes an instant liking to him. They decide to “tame” him. The humor of the story continues quickly as the boy becomes more human than bat like. The town reacts with negativity, than with a positive attitude, than negative again. He soon discovers the secret of his origin. The Bat Boy character is played with an awesome display of physicality and voice as he climbs around the stage and delivers musical numbers with a terrific voice. I felt that every character worked. They all tied the plays plot together. Each one helped the audience to get a feeling of suspense and each one brought humor to the play. The use of collaborative art to bring this production to the stage at Washburn was outstanding. The enactment of the scenes by every character in the play was incredible.


The visual elements of the performance truly brought this play together. The choreography was outstanding and eye catching. The scenic design is a wonderful blend of cave vs. civilization. The costumes were simple enough for the audience to focus on the character as a whole and simple enough for quick, easy changes by wearing a different hat for example. The lighting design gives the audience a wonderful feel in each scene. I loved the sequence when the audience