buffymusical.com - Buffy the Musical "Once More, With Feeling"

Episode #107
Analysis of the musical
Soundtrack CD
Lyrics / Synopsis

Intro Prologue  


Here's some sketches I've made of stage ideas (all horribly out of scale.)

This was the first sketch I made straight after seeing the episode for the first time. The idea was to have a different section of the stage for the Magic Box, Spike's Crypt and the Bronze, so that there was established "locations" when they were needed at the same time during Walk Through The Fire. Each location could extend into center stage when it was the only one in any given scene.

The Bronze stage would be a permanent platform across the back of the stage which would also be used in other scenes such as the Standing training scene. I also included a small mezzanine floor for the library, where Tara could sing Under Your Spell (Reprise), but this may be a bit extravagant and take up too much space.

Here's a few more sketches done a bit later:


The Magic Box

The Bronze



The first thing to know about this is -- it isn't finished. What I've done is close to a first draft, but there are scenes missing, some things that are probably temporary etc.

In imagining a stage production, I'm pitching at about the level of an amateur or even student production, so I haven't put in anything too elaborate. I also think it should have a running time of around 90 minutes. The running time of the full TV version is 51 minutes, so that leaves some time to put some put in some of the story threads running through the earlier episodes of Season 6, which are relevant to understanding the emotions of the characters during the musical.

One big problem with this idea though, is that the result is likely to be lopsided, i.e. about half an hour of story with no music, then suddenly an hour of musical, but I'll get into some possible solutions to that later.

Getting back to the adaptation of Once More, With Feeling episode itself, there are some things that can't be reproduced on stage. These are the problems I see and my solutions for them:

  • Vampires can't explode into dust on stage when staked (duh) - Instead, vampires would just have to fall down dead on the stage, or maybe they could stagger backwards off stage, then a cloud of dust could appear from the wings where they exited, after all, they often use the off screen dusting trick in the TV series.
  • Sweet's victims can't burst into flames - I'd rely on the actor to portray the feeling of burning up from the inside, and use lighting to make the actor "glow" red. Maybe you could also do a trick with smoke -- pump it up from under the stage if they're over the trapdoor or a specially built platform.
  • Vampires can't morph into vamp face in real time - This is only a problem for Rest In Peace, when Spike vamps up to scare the mourners. - No solution I can see, Spike just has to act scary as he is.
  • Buffy can't train in slow motion for Standing - and people pretending to move in slow motion inevitably look silly. Rather than anything that involves fast moves, I'd make Buffy's exercises for this scene more about strength and balance -- maybe even a set of rings if they could be rigged. I see this scene as an opportunity for a specialist gymnast to double for Buffy, having her in low light or silhouette upstage while Giles sings downstage.
  • Sweet can't disappear in a ball of light - or can he...? Another chance for tricks with smoke (and mirrors) and a mini blue spotlight?
  • Anya and Xander have consecutive scenes which require a costume change - Anya and Xander go straight from I'll Never Tell in their sleepwear into the street scene with Giles. To separate these scenes I'm putting in a scene based on one from Afterlife, where Willow wonders why Buffy hasn't thanked her for bringing her back.
  • Dawn has two consecutive scenes: Dawn's Lament and Dawn's Ballet - This isn't actually a problem, as you could do the transition by having Dawn dragged to center stage when kidnapped, then change the lighting for the new scene as she wakes up, but it just needs a break. In the TV episode, these scenes are broken up by a commercial break, I've broken them up by swapping around the Rest In Peace scene and Dawn's Ballet.

I've started by basically compressing the first 1 and a half episodes of Season 6 down to a fairly short Prologue, (and still had room to chuck in some of my own stuff,) followed by the band doing Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme, to get some music happening early.

Here's a few of the "artistic" decisions I've made about the adaptation:

  • The span of the stage production would cover from episode 1 to episode 6 of Season 6, to include significant parts of earlier episodes.
  • No Buffy Bot
  • No need to mention Dawn is the Key
  • Giles hasn't left for England
  • The Hellions know of the plan to resurrect Buffy, and the scoobies know there are demons who know the Slayer is dead.
  • the Hellions know of Spike
  • The secret about where Buffy was while dead is revealed to the audience the same time as to the other characters.
  • The same for the revelation that Tara is under a spell that Willow has cast on her. The spell would have been cast before the span of the musical so the herb used in the spell needs to be something Tara would wear regularly over a fair about of time. At the moment I'm thinking a necklace braided from it, but maybe that's a bit too similar to the talisman Dawn wears, so maybe an earing...
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