Marching Arts Memories
Mirror mirror on the grass, whose GE is consistently first class?
Welcome to Marching Arts Memories, the series where we go over one show from the past and break it down to attempt to understand exactly what about it made it so iconic. I’m not here to ridicule or be negative so if you were hoping I would use my knowledge for evil I am so sorry. We have enough negativity in the world and after the year and half we’ve all had I am not looking to rip anyone apart. We’re simply here to have fun as a community and enjoy each other’s work and BOY HOWDY do we have a show to enjoy today.
Now, one might ask, “Well Shawn, since you marched a different corps in 2010, why would you be quick to pull up the Blue Devils from that year?” Well reader, it’s simply because the older I get and the more I involve myself in field show design the more I see this show for the absolute masterpiece that it is. From beginning to end this thing, what do the youth say? Ah yes, slaps. Absolutely slaps. Sheeeeeeesh or whatever.
We begin our journey into the surreal with BD showing us exactly what we’re about to experience: We’re about to think this color guard is even more massive than it already is. A super simple concept used time and time again in this marching arts world but BD really managed to utilize this to terrifying effect. Through the opening moment of pure BD jazz, we see a line of color guard members firmly planted in front of those props (one line? Two? See it’s already getting to me). Then the whole field erupts in fabric and music and the guard consolidates in front of the mirror.
We’ll pause here for two reasons. One, this is damn effective. I mean to the point where in the wide shots it’s genuinely difficult to tell where the real members end and the reflections begin. Kudos to the prop designer because I’ve used mirror props before and getting the angle right is damn near impossible. Second, the obvious here can’t be overstated. You know who is the most in time with any single guard member? Their reflection. And sure 30 members in time is impressive but when reflected back at you to look like 60 members as in time as those 30 would be? I mean, dear god. The simplicity.
So, the moment ends, the hornline member runs down the line to be the catalyst for the props to move (a classic) and we move into the next effect these mirrors offer, the disappearing trick. It’s one thing to move behind a prop and POOF you’re gone. It’s another thing to move behind a mirror and seemingly disappear into thin air. And that’s what this percussion is blessing us with. One second they’re there, and the next they’re not.
The next few minutes we get what BD does best: Highlighting moments of perfection on one side while the other magically resets and then it is their turn to shine. It’s like little vignettes all over the field while the section not currently being highlighted literally disappears and moves behind mirrors to magically reappear somewhere completely different. It reads as a masterclass in simplicity through musicality.
The production as a whole is something to be admired. A true example of why the Blue Devils remain on top. It’s a simple concept achieved the absolute best. I know it isn’t the only example of mirrors and I know that it’s not the oldest example of this either, but it would be difficult to argue that the range and varied with the musicality doesn’t make this one of the premier examples of it.
Comment below what show should we take a look at next?