Monday, April 30, 2007

"A Little Fall of Rain"

Picked up a copy of Robertson Davies’s Happy Alchemy in the Theater section at Half-Price Books and am trying to sip, not gulp; as it is very good and I would like the pleasure of reading it to last as long as possible.

In the chapters on melodrama and opera, which is just melodrama raised to its highest level - he explains something that has puzzled me since Les Mis. This was : why did I cry every single performance over the death of Eponine?

I wasn’t in the grip of theatrical illusion - just the opposite. Working backstage, I’d just been adjusting Marius’s sash and tucking in his shirt - again-; two hours earlier, I’d been wrestling Eponine’s recalcitrant Asian hair into witchlocks with the curling iron. I’d made half the clothes they stood up in, and that included the false shirt front the prop kids had sprayed with “blood”.
And yet every night, I was wiping my eyes.

It’s the combination of words and music, Mr. Davies explained - which is the original meaning of the term “melodrama”. This is how two nice suburban kids can make you cry because her life was so hard and he didn’t love her and didn’t even realize she loved him until it was too late and she had sacrificed herself to make him happy with another woman and it’s just SO SAD.