Bat Boy is an adaptation of the book by Farley and Flemmng that narrate the story of half-boy and half-bat who was found in cave. The plot inspired the directors to create a stage adaptation.
Although the musical differs a bit from the details presented in the plot, but the main idea is still preserved. The musical touches upon very urgent and serious themes such as acceptance, hypocrisy, forgiveness, revenge, racism, and scapegoating that are closely intertwined with such serious moments containing irony, camp-horror and slapstick. The musical also comprises religious themes related to biblical allusions.
In particular, it contains the quotes from Genesis 9:4 and Psalm 23. In addition to this, Act II starts with a revival of faith healer. Although the plot reminds of horror films imbued with the gothic scenes, the musical is still more close to more positive representation of the characters and the events.
The musical production was quite successful due to magnificent play of the actors. The main actor playing Bat Boy/Edgar faced difficult task: he had to show a clear transition from wild and solitary existence in the case to a normal human interaction and socialization. The main hero is forced to learn the keys of human ethics and communication to be able to survive. Therefore, the actor who played one character at the beginning of the musical should play its antagonist. Such a situation impelled a quick shift in events and situation taking place on the stage. It should also be emphasized that all the characters look cartoon like. Their voice, speech, movements, and gestures were subjected to firmly established stereotypes about horror movies.
On the one hand, such acting perfectly rendered the main idea of the plot – a confrontation of the real and imaginary worlds. The acting team, hence, decides to remain alienated from the audience to emphasize the main idea of the musical and of the original script. In addition, the actors also want to preserves the main features of the musical and its genre so that they try to use music to enhance the impression and to provide the audience with clearer understanding the plot and the problem. So, when the actors moved, spoke, or sang, they tried to render the seriousness with their poker faces despite the lyric tone of the musical. Such dissonance in gestures and lyrics make the scenes quite funny. In general, the actors succeeded in disclosing the main conception of the musical without resorting to ridiculous costumes and gag lines.
Their strength lied in strict observance of the scenario and deep trust in what they were performing on the stage. Due to the fact that Bat Boy is a musical full of humorous and comic situations and charismatic characters, the director decided to resort to certain appropriate techniques which brought much clarity and accuracy to the plot. The most striking images included a muddle of trees covered with blood red lights of the fog.
Besides, the excessive loudness of the sound that was harsh to the ears supplemented the creepy sceneries and images. The directory did not pay attention to the details, but was striving to present the overall idea of the plot through general settings, dialogues, and songs. In such a way, the directing team managed to render important massages of morality, ethic and human behavior. Therefore, the director did not focus on the comic details, which were moderately presented, which provided a good genera impression.
In addition, the cast was perfectly selected and enclosed in the atmosphere. Along with perfect acting and signing, a successful chemistry was also made up of using unusual decorations. Asymmetric design and unevenness in all details supplement the stage and performance with greater impression. The designer attempted to correlate the creepy decoration with sound to provoke the dissonance and to reach the necessary effect. Designers were striving to presents scenery decorations as a visual metaphor in the best traditional of cult acting and performance. The confrontation of realistic and fictional setting assisted greatly in understanding the purpose of the musical. It was quite clear to the viewers that the place was based on the so-called real events, but the decoration distorted the real images through the introduction of some absurd and surrealistic elements. Only some elements of the interior helped the audience orient in time and space.
In general, all elements – the setting, the acting and performance, the directing, and design – successfully rendered the atmosphere of the musical and provided a deeper understanding of the original authors’ ideas. The actors and director created a perfect environment for outlining the main problems of the book and for presented different and more philosophical ideas of the conceptions. In general, the performance has also managed to preserve the core features of the musical that gave priority to futuristic and surrealistic ideas for expressing individuality and uniqueness. Therefore, the stage adaptation and actors’ performance perfectly fit the plot.