Reviews/Sphereplay: Playing In The Multisphere

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    [edit] Playing In The Multisphere


    [edit] Review by User:Brine_child

    The first thing to be said about ‘Sphereplay 2: Playing in the Multisphere, Part One: 2-5 Spheres Deluxe Edition’ (S2:PitMS,P1:2-5SDE as it will surely become known, or PMS which I will use for review purposes) is that it is not a contact juggling DVD. That’s not me being contentious or anything, in fact Michael Glenn and Rich Shumaker make it clear from the very start that ‘Sphereplay’ is different to contact juggling and is apparently ‘a lot more fun’.

    It maybe a minor distinction but the focus of Sphereplay appears to be less on presentation or performance and more on personal enjoyment and expression and this is reflected in what can be seen on the DVD.

    But moving away from the contact/Sphereplay distinction for now and looking at the content that PMS has to offer. Spread over the two discs are around 4 hours of material; performance, teaching, outtakes, ideas on the creation and modification of moves, there’s even a performer’s commentary providing some insight into the various Sphereplayers’ philosophies and practice/play techniques.

    So PMS is practically groaning with features it must be an essential purchase right? Well maybe not, I feel that there are some criticisms which could have been dealt with to make this a truly vital piece of media.

    First off from an entirely aesthetic view the editing makes this somewhat difficult to watch for extended periods of time (bear in mind there’s 4 hours worth on here) many of the performances become obscured by over enthusiastic use of filters and effects which do little to enhance the routines. Most distracting for me though was the over the top use of as many different cheesy transitions as was physically possible, after the first two hours I was starting to get a vague feeling of motion sickness

    There is good stuff on this DVD, some of the ideas are fantastic and I’ve been given a lot to think about and practice. However I can’t help thinking that instead of a 4-hour epic, a hardcore session of polishing and trimming could have transformed this into a sleek and inspirational 2-hours. In fact my cynical side is telling me that a lot of the material here could be seen as filler, justifying a separate release for the Sphereplay ‘Beyond’ DVD which is plugged a couple of times in the extra material, but I’d never be that suspicious.

    Or Would I?

    I will stress that this DVD illustrates a style which I am not personally familiar with, indeed some of the teaching methods I would disagree with as I see them as inefficient and ultimately detrimental to learning smooth multiball/Multisphereplaying. The focus is very much on the idea that there is no right or wrong which I suppose is fair enough, though my only point would be “If I’m paying money for you to teach me, I would want the most experienced teachers to show me the best way to learn”

    Unfortunately I cannot state if PMS will provide you with this. What it will provide you with is an inclusive and entertaining approach to multiball contact/Sphereplay which will no doubt appeal to those who aren’t so obsessive about how their performances look and just want to pick up some ‘Spheres’ (rumour has it the spheres that they use in this DVD are just ordinary balls) and have a bit of a blast

    Of course my favourite thing about S2:PitMS,P1:2-5SDE is the introduction to my television of Mister Brad Lowery, a man with so much enthusiasm he could get a job breaking the most devastating news to the world and people would still go about their lives with a smile on their faces.

    “So when the nuclear warheads hit the country there will be a MYRIAD of fatalities”

    And the idea of his big happy face being the last thing the entire population of the world witnesses is a comforting thought.

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