After returning from the Carlo Felice Theater on MSC Poesia, I have to say I’m feeling some kind of way about “Sam,” the production show I just saw. The only problem is I’m not sure what kind of way that is, exactly.
The venue was breathtaking, a mix of shiny purple and gold with hundreds of tiny, color-changing overhead lights that resemble stars. The performers were talented, offering up expert dance moves and acrobatics that made my jaw drop.
The show itself left me scratching my head, though. Described as “a musical trip through the history and culture of the United States,” it featured a brief laser show with pictures of bald eagles, Abraham Lincoln and the American flag, followed by stereotypical dancing “Indians” and cowboys, men in shiny sailor suits and two acrobats in futuristic costumes who performed in front of a space shuttle backdrop.
As if that weren’t confusing enough, as an American, I didn’t recognize more than two of about 10 celebrity impersonators, and an entire cast performed in period clothing from the 1960’s while dancing to music from the 70’s and, oddly enough, the 90’s. (Apparently I missed the memo that the 1980’s never happened.)
If the show had been strictly satirical, blatantly poking fun at Americans and their stereotypes, it would have made more sense. However, the obvious effort put into making the show appeal to a broad audience may have had the opposite effect with this one. Despite its intended professional nature, it felt a little like a cross between a Las Vegas act and a show at a gentlemen’s club, to be polite.
The most obvious question here is whether this is really how America is perceived through the eyes of Europeans. One American family decided to bust in on formal night wrapped in beach towels, nothing but their bathing suits underneath. Still others from the U.S. saw nothing wrong with wearing mesh shorts, football jerseys and baseball caps in the theater. So, sadly, it wouldn’t surprise me.
At any rate, tomorrow’s show, which has no description in the Daily Programme, is entitled “Little Italy.” I’m not planning to attend, but I can only hope it will include lots of pizza and Jersey Shore lookalikes.
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