Kelly Turner

Intro to Theatre TH102
Reaction Paper #1
11/04/03
Bat Boy: The Musical
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.

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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 is blinded with lights. The music in Bat Boy was
extremely entertaining. The kind of catchy music you can’t get out of your
head even after your long gone from the theatre. The music explored rap,
hoe down, and gospel and the ballads were wonderfully sappy. I believe that
all of these elements of spectacle and music helped enhance the meaning of
this play.

This play contained so many elements of theatricalism. It employed vivid
imagery throughout. The scene where Bat Boy is eating the cow head is a
good example. Heightened language took place throughout the production.

This play also called attention to the mechanics of the theatre. The
performers themselves came on and off the stage in order to move the props.


This production of Bat Boy was wonderful. I beleive that the playwright
was trying to get the point across to the audience that we all contain a
dark side and that we need to accept this fact. Maybe he believes that we
all have a Bat Boy inside of us.