I grew up watching musicals and listening their soundtracks with my sisters. We could act them out, we knew them so well. Clang clang clang goes the trolley. I want to live in America. Bless your beautiful hide. That ain’t it kid, that ain’t it kid. The waving wheat can sure smell sweet. Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep. You are sixteen going on seventeen. Shining, gleaming–streaming flaxen waxen. I don’t expect my love affairs to last for long. What’s the buzz, tell me whats a-happening. Sorry–I could go on and on.
Today, as I was vacuuming, singing Miss Saigon music to myself, I pondered yet once again that as Kim was singing, “Nothing must stop what I must do…my son I’ll give my life for you”, did she realize what she was really doing?
< MISS SAIGON SPOLIER ALERT >
Of course I know she knew she was sacrificing her life so that her son would be “an American boy” with Chris and Ellen. But did she think about the fact that for the rest of his life, Tam would have understand that he was the reason his mother killed herself? Because, as an adult, don’t you suppose he might think, “Jeez, Ma–maybe if you had just waited and talked to Dad…” or “if you’d loved me, you would have tried to go with me”. Can you imagine the neuroses that would engender?
Don’t get me wrong…I can still enjoy and weep and sing a long with the tragedy of it all. Something being “realistic” isn’t a criteria for enjoyment for me, or I wouldn’t be able to read all of those Diana Gabaldon books over and over again. Man, I do love me a good time travel story. But when characters touch me, I always imagine how it should have been different. That’s what well written characters do, right? Make you think of them as real people who have choices beyond the lines written for them?
When I finally made my husband sit down and watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, he just could not get past the premise…kidnap and bunch of girls for months, and they will fall in love with you? I protested that the girls already loved the boys (such singers! such dancers! such handsome shirts in primary colors!). I can definitely get past the premise.
So I will try to understand Kim’s martyrdom…or maybe she did it to force Chris to “hold (her) one more time”? Sigh. I don’t know. Miss Saigon is still near perfection, regardless. And I will try not to think so much.
Could you name all the musicals I quoted in the first paragraph??