Last night, I took my kids to see The Lion King at Playhouse Square. Fun was had by all and I managed to sneak a little culture into the entertainment diet of my children. Granted, it was the last row in the theater and we brought binoculars so that we could make out the finer details, but much culture was gained by all.
But, kids, culture and nose bleed seats aside, I found something very interesting about the production of the Lion King. That was that many of the plants, grass, trees, jungle shrubs were actually parts performed by actors. The reason being was to give the impression of movement and change. When Mufasa and Simba are walking through the Savannah, grass does not just stand up stock straight and still. It undulates and shifts. And the creators of this musical reflected that with human actors. There has been many a writer who has described grass plains as seas of land for the amount of movement you can see.
Plants and their movement often have more to do with the ambiance of scenes in our real life than we know. That really scary tree shadow that came through the window when you were a kid was scary because of the fact that it swayed in such a life like way. Dreamy days spent blowing the fuzz off dandelions would not be as fun if the fuzzies just stayed in place. Fluttering leaves in the fall help to give that magical feeling to the colors. Our gardens do not stand still frozen in time. The move, sway and grow to a natural music.
It was just nice to see that fact acknowledged in a staged production. It was attention to small details like that that made it the blockbuster that it was.