Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Do you hear the people sing?

I first heard the song of angry men a few days after I turned 12. It was a birthday present to go see my first real show. My grandma, mom, and I went to the National in Washington, D.C. on a school night and saw Les Miserables. I was taking French at the time and I suppose they picked it for being one of the more "serious" shows touring at the time. I was absurdly excited and sang the entire way home. I also remember that some character made a sex joke and I thought that was pretty impressive. It started to snow on the way home, which later became a theme for my mom and me seeing shows. It also meant I usually went in to school late the next day, which was helpful. Les Mis has never stopped fascinating me, or making me cry. Over the next few years I saw the movie version (which isn't a musical) in French classes and listened to the soundtrack pretty frequently. It has always struck me for its passion. Any good show should have passion, that isn't my point, but the pasion of two or three people and the passion of a nation are very different things. Les Mis makes me sad that I wasn't alive to fight the French Revolution because half way through the show I'm ready to leap up on stage, risk my life, and stand on the barricade. Last fall, the movie came out. I have some issues, but, overall, it captured me in just the same way. Tonight, I will go see the musical production again, at a theatre I have grown to love. Every time I revisit something I love, I worry for a split second in the midst of excitement that perhaps it will have lost its magic. But that isn't how magic works. Watching Brigadoon emerge out of the Scottish highlands is still just as impressive and magical now that I know it's on a sound stage in Hollywood as it was when I was five and very possibly really thought there was a town like that across the ocean in what, accurately or not, I consider my motherland. So, will you be strong and stand with me? I want to see the world beyond the barricade, over and over and over again.

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