Monday, September 15, 2008

Les Misbarack

An improv company from LA pays homage to Obama. Or Les Mis. Or something:

Is it me, or does framing the election as the finale of Act I of Les Mis, seem to miss the point of both the campaign AND the musical?

It's been twenty years, so it's kinda hazy, but IIRC this song musical counterpoint threading together inner emotional monologues from disparate subplots and building to a thunderous was meant to musically browbeat the audience into an emotional frenzy-- not because anything was resolved in the story to this point, it wasn't, but because Schoenberg wanted the audience to stay for the second act.

(Also, I'm not sure but I think the tune keeps modulating and the chord progression never resolves until the very end of the four minutes)

Also, while it's framed here as a rallying point for the Obama campaign, in Act II of Les Mis, the mob on the barricades is abandoned by the people and they all realize they're going to be crushed like bugs and that their movement accomplished exactly nothing and then they all die. Maybe that's the point, but seeing as this is coming from an improv group I kinda think they didn't think that far ahead.

Especially because most of lyrics expressed here DON'T fit the visual narrative (a one location number? no way. And if McCain is Javert in what possible world does it make sense that Palin is Madame Thénardier?)

Okay, I've just spent way too much time on YouTube and Wikipedia fact-checking a musical I wasn't that interested in two decades ago just so I could confirm that
this new mashup squandered a key musical theatre geek callback: the marching in place of the actors.

Although I have to say it's growing on me. The fourth time around the video isn't so grating and I'm ready to dash out to the lobby to buy me one of them tricolour Cosette/Obama mashup t-shirts.

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