Thursday, June 08, 2006

Well, cool. Blogger seems to be working for the moment. I just got several extra posts deleted and I’ve gotten my little flickr slideshow running in the sidebar. I was supposed to be prepping classes that I start teaching next week, but as per usual I’ve put it off until the last – tomorrow & the weekend. Now it’s a little after one in the morning and I am soaking some newly transplanted orchids in the sink and tinkering with blogger.

I’m loving Erica’s new job as she keeps giving us free tickets for various events.
Tonight Erica’s land of free tickets found us going to see Phantom of the Opera at The Fox Theater. I hadn’t seen it before. When I told Mary we were going she commented that as a show it really is all about the set pieces and staging. I’d have to agree. Some of the eighties pseudo rock numbers were musically painful. There’s this section where the phantom is leading the ingénue to his inner sanctum for the first time and despite the immediate presence of a full orchestra these talented singers are instead accompanied by a Casio keyboard and a drum machine.

Erica asked me what I thought of the production. I think that there’s an obvious homoerotic neo-platonic subtext that culminates in a song from the upper rafters in which the phantom – who is also the “angel of music” – bemoans how the young man/rival must love the lead actress because he, older intellectual sufferer of social non acceptance phantom, has tampered with her spirit and filled it with pure music – to which Plato believed the male mind was closer than the female mind. Women were too close to the earth for Plato’s taste as the earth too was a shadow of the ideal realm of pure thought, inspiration and music.

The central female character is transactional (rather than volitional or even a locus of desire) as the young man must love the divine music channeled through the masculine intellect of the phantom, packaged as it is in the socially acceptable girl from his childhood. Thus the mask covers not just the face of the central protagonist, but also the true object of his affections, about whom he continues to remain conflicted. The hero too is willing to sacrifice his supposed love in order to capture the older trickster. Again she is transactional when she allows herself to be used as bait, which is to say that she remains a means to an end rather than an end in herself. Her twin lovers both need her to be remade or to remake her in order for true love to be possible – perhaps a frightening thing to teach young women. However, I did like it when they slid all the stuff around the stage and shot off roman candles.


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