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WHEN FICTION AND REALITY MEET
27 July 2016
I have seen Cabaret several times. I am quite familiar with the movie, and have seen it many times. But I have also seen the stage show several times (one of the shows that Jeri may have played more often than any other show, except maybe Chicago.)
The stage show is quite different. It's darker, for one thing. The Emcee somehow isn't quite as menacing in the movie, playing his role for comedy rather than for any sort of demonic presence; Sally only has one big song (the title song) in the stage show; several characters and subplots added to the movie don't appear in the stage play and it's quite confusing having a character of "Max" in the stage play who is a completely different character from the movie Max, who showers Sally and Cliff with riches and ends up screwing them both. Literally.
It seems that in the movie you had a hint of the rise of Nazism from the beginning, a glimpse of a swastika here, some violence seen out the window of the Kit Kat Klub, and eventually soldiers with swastika armbands as part of the clientele.
In the stage play, there is no hint of Nazis until just before the end of the first act. And then it hits you like a jolt.
One of the reasons it hit me so forcibly is that I had just sat through a week of the Republican Convention (though admittedly, I skipped a lot of it because I couldn't take it--but got all the high (or low) points in sound bites from talking heads the next day)
And I watched most of Day 1 of the Democratic convention and as much as I could before we had to leave for the theater tonight (I recorded the rest of it and we sat up until midnight watching Clinton's speech).
So in the stage show, you get the nice choir starting to sing "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" very sweetly and it escalates into something more strident. Now, I've always been disappointed that it's not nearly as effective as it is in the movie, but still tonight it was pretty darn effective.
Suddenly I wasn't sitting in a theater watching a musical, but my mind was thinking of that awful Republican convention that was all about hate--hate--hate--hate. Hatred and divisiveness. And a room full of white people (did you know there were SEVEN black delegates? More black people on stage than in the audience!) yelling and cheering and waving signs like "Lock Her Up!"
I was thinking about how the speeches were designed to build hatred and suspicion, of Hillary Clinton, of your Muslim neighbors, of NATO member nations, of those Mexican rapists, and yet offered zero clue as to how the candidate plans to make America great again.
I contrasted that convention with Hillary's resume which we got in bits and pieces from so many people on the stage tonight, each relating something that she had done that had changed their lives, and then Bill summing it all up with her work on this committee and that committee and helping pass this or that bill, and negotiating this or that peace settlement. Whether she deliberately or innocently misused email became irrelevant because, love her or hate her, this woman has a lifetime of experience in local, national and international politics, whereas all I heard about Trump's qualifications is that he builds the biggest, best, most expensive hotels and golf courses in the world and that everybody loves him. Not, in my opinion, the person I want with his finger on the button that could set off World War III.
In Act 2 of Cabaret we see the Nazis rise to power, with the start of attacks against the Jews, beating people for expressing their opinion--all with the backdrop of such silly songs as "If you could see her..." saying that if someone could the Emcee's girlfriend (a gorilla), she 'wouldn't look Jewish at all."
When the beautiful relationship between Fraulein Schneider and her Jewish greengrocer friend Herr Schultz dissolves because she realizes the danger she would be putting herself in by marrying a Jew, Sally Bowles wails, "But it's just politics. It doesn't concern us."
And I wondered how many people still slavishly devoted to Trump feel that way about international relations or a bunch of other things that would be completely ruined if Trump carries out even a portion of the things he plans to do. Just for starters the thousands of people currently receiving health care under the Affordable Care Act, having their medical insurance coverage ended and replaced by "something" that he assures us is going to be "so much better," but can't give us a clue what that is.
The whole thing keeps me awake nights (I'm writing this at 2:30 a.m.)
And then I go off and see Cabaret and that doesn't help at ALL!!!
Char came up for lunch today. They were turning her water off for several hours and, since she had not yet seen the big office remodel, she decided this would give her a chance to do so.
She was, not surprisingly, impressed.
She is really enjoying the new senior center where she moved recently and we discussed what Walt and I are going to do with this house, eventually. I've mentioned it before on Facebook and Ashley panicked. I reassured her that three things had to happen first: We have to clean the house, my mother has to die, and the dogs have to die (No way I would move these guys to a new place and while I could find an adoptive home for Lizzie, nobody in their right would adopt Polly). I told her that given those three conditions, the new child she is about to give birth to will probably be in high school before that is a possibility.
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This is entry #5968