OK, I’m not the sharpest pencil in the backpack, so maybe that’s why I don’t get what the fuss is over this news of deception perpetrated by Miley Cyrus, the 15-year-old star of Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana. I mean, I wanted to be outraged and self-righteous when I heard and read the media buzz about another entitled child star doing something unsavory. But after learning what the crime was, I couldn’t even muster a disapproving frown or a finger-wagging!
If you haven’t heard by now, Cyrus, while performing on stage as her alter ego Hannah Montana, was captured on video by a fan. The video shows Cyrus being whisked offstage while a stand-in skips and dances and prances around onstage to give Cyrus additional time to change from the character into her real self. Of course, my first thought was, “Hold up! Isn’t it illegal to videotape a concert? Arrest that fan!” Anyway, Cyrus’ representatives quickly confirmed that yes, a “production element” is incorporated into the show to facilitate a quicker costume change. Here’s the apparent offense:
OK, that was, what, seconds? A minute at most? During the droning, repeated chorus portion of a song? Is that so bad? Isn’t her entire rise to fame built on the double identity of Hannah Montana versus Miley Cyrus, and switching around and trying not to be caught as one or the other? I wonder if those who are outraged get annoyed when they learn that magicians don’t really saw women in half on stage.
Hannah Montana is a Disney character. And I want to think that there aren’t too many folks over the age of 12 who believe that the same person is under that Mickey Mouse costume in Disneyland, Disney World, Paris Disney and Hong Kong Disneyland all day, every day, in all four places. I know it’s not quite the same thing, but I don’t know, maybe the irate fan(s) were just disappointed that they saw how the “magic” is created. Maybe they’re just sad, sort of like accidentally walking through the characters’ gate at Disneyland and seeing Donald Duck with his head off, soaking his feet, while smoking a cigarette. I understand being disappointed, because we all want to live the fantasy. But since Hannah Montana is a fictional character, does it matter that Hannah Montana was “played” by another for a few minutes so that an actual person could get herself together to perform? If Miley had a stand-in double for herself, then that would be some interesting psychological grist to grind in discussion. Heh.
I know that people are attending with the expectation of seeing both Miley and Hannah Montana, but … it’s the same person. When one person performs two parts in a staged production, the laws of physics guarantees that the person can’t be both people in the same place at the same time. My math and science grades kept me from attending Cal Tech, but I think I remember the equation like this: two roles ≥ same place ÷ one person + same time = ain’t possible. Could it all have been orchestrated differently? Probably. But it just doesn’t seem that awful. They were obviously trying to make the transition from one to the other quickly enough to get a “wow, how’d they do that” from the audience.
This concert tour has made headlines from the time it was announced. There were issues with ticket distribution, as well as problems with brokers and individual scalpers buying up tickets and then selling them for hundreds of dollars over face value. In some cities, seats were up to a thousand dollars. As you can imagine, the majority of Hannah Montana‘s most loyal fans are little kids, and the inflated prices exceeded what most parents could pay. Then just a few weeks ago in a ticket giveaway promotion, it was discovered that a woman wrote a letter on her 6-year-old daughter’s behalf, saying that the girl’s father was killed in Iraq — and it was all in hopes of garnering sympathy and some killer tickets! It was a lie. Now that is an example of an egregious deception and setting a pretty awful example for kids. Not theatrical sleight of hand that allows for a costume change.
Of course, I would be very upset if I bought tickets to hear Barbra Streisand sing her greatest hits, only to have her disappear off stage for a costume change while Roseanne Barr finished up Don’t Rain on My Parade wearing a Streisand wig and sequined gown. But is that what is taking place on stage in Cyrus’ tour? I say no, not even close.