I am sitting in our garden well wrapped up. I need to be today, it’s a little bit chillier. The sun keeps putting its hat on. Of course when that song was written the writer was meaning that the sun was looking fine and putting on a good show, whereas I mean it’s hiding under a big sombrero. One minute I am sitting in blazing sunshine, virtual drink in hand, wearing a virtual mankini. No you don’t want to see me in a mankini. The next I am huddled up under my blankets. Well actually nothing changes, I just go from feeling hot to cold and this iPad screen gets harder to read.
As I sit sunbathing I am reminded of singing “The sun has got its hat on.” there’s a treat you are all glad you missed. It was back in my Nailsea Musicals days. I wore a straw hat and pranced around, yes pranced! Ah, the sweet memories, how glad I am they are past. Musicals there is a theme to think on. I bet you are all glad I am sitting in the garden.
I was watching the 25th anniversary edition of Miss Saigon last night. It was first put on in Drury Lane in 1989, I saw it in Bristol with my daughter for her birthday treat. Watching the film version brought back a lot of memories. I remember thinking what a great musical it was, what fantastic singers, wondering where my tissues were, and how on earth they got that helicopter through the stage doors. Not to mention that giant statue at the back.
I watched another musical the day before, Phantom of the Opera. I knew the music, but had never seen the production before and didn’t know the story. Somehow I had even missed reading the original book. Oh wait, that’s because I don’t read French. What an amazing story. But a story about an older man who controls and manipulates a younger woman, not what I expected at all. There are a lot of sexual overtones. No one ever seems to ask Christine what she wants. She is an object to be desired and used. Which takes me back to Miss Saigon. Kim is an object of desire, Chris the GI who desires her, uses her and then leaves her (ok he was forced to leave her, but did he really have no way back). Is it any wonder he chooses his new wife over her at the end? His love for Kim was passing. Have I stirred up a response?
Does love exist in either of these musicals? What is love anyway? It seems to me that love is gentle, kind, forgiving, generous, caring, understanding, often sacrificial, love never gives up, love is a choice and not just a feeling. That sort of love exists in Miss Saigon, Kim loves her son Tam sacrificially, passionately and with great care and generosity, she also loves Chris over three or more years; she doesn’t give up on him. Chris gave up on Kim after just a year!
In Phantom there is suffering, sacrifice and pain on the part of the Phantom. Does the Phantom love Christine or does he just want to possess her? Is the first time he feels love when he lets her go? There is love between Christine and Raul of course.
This musing in the half sunshine has a lot to answer for. If you have watched either of these musicals I will leave you to comment or just think about what I have said. If not, then ignore me, you probably will anyway. I really must stop watching musicals…Mama Mia, here we go again! Just kidding.
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