Wednesday, October 31, 2007


My husband and I spend a lot of time in the theater and we spend a lot of time together, but we don't often spend time together at theaters. So it's been a real treat that the two of us have seen two shows together in three days time. Last night in particular was very much a date night as our friends volunteered to have our son spend the night at their place and we didn't have to worry about what time we got home.

It was September of 1985 when Richard and I had our first date. Had I known then that we would have ended up married, I'm not sure I would have predicted that 22 years later, we'd still get such a thrill out of each other's company. I caught myself last night feeling disappointed that we were almost home because I didn't want our date to end. It had been an evening of delightful conversation and laughter. I was struck again with how fortunate I am to so enjoy and long for the company of my husband. It's part of what makes life good.

And I say all this as a way of explaining that I'm a sucker for a good love story--which is what Camelot is.

By the end of the first act, I knew I would be in tears at the end of the musical--a prediction which was to prove true, despite the twists this particular revival made to the original. There was such chemistry between the Arthur and the Guinevere. Both of them grew up during the course of the musical and their love deepened even as Guinevere inexplicably fell for the caddish, callow Lancelot. This was one of the major flaws of this production--one that it shares with many of the Camelot retellings--why in the world would Guinevere ever fall in love with Lancelot when she's married to Arthur. The love between them is so strong and Arthur has the far greater attractive personality than Lancelot. This production doesn't even attempt to explain why she falls for Lancelot, she just does.

Richard and I also had long discussions about why the revival took out one of his favorite songs--Fie on Goodness. Yes, many people complained that the musical was too long, so perhaps they felt they needed to cut something. However, I guess that it was for a different reason than just length. They took it out because they wanted to change the thematic emphasis. They're telling a different story by taking that piece out. This Camelot is far more political than other versions. It really is an anti-war musical that cries out for more civilized behavior. It's also a production that shies away from the idea that virtue and virtuous behavior can have momentous affects on the world around us. It strives to be less judgmental and in the process, loses some of its strength.

Mordred is present in this production, but he is far less the antagonist than Lancelot. Camelot doesn't really fall because of his scheming, he's simply the tool that gets used in that moment. It's an unfortunate choice.

More later.

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