March 17, 2007
Last night David and I went to the Saline Area Players' production of Gypsy. This activity was a pretty unusual date for us because David hates musical theater. I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan of musical theater myself, despite having played in pit orchestras for Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, Peter Pan, and Bye Bye Birdie. There have, however, been musicals I have liked, notably Miss Saigon and Rent. David, on the other hand, hates all musicals except for musicals that make fun of the genre, such as Everyone Says I Love You and the Buffy Musical Episode. Gypsy almost falls into this category, and we almost liked it.
I knew nothing about the play or about Gypsy Rose Lee, the (in?)famous stripper. We went because a friend of David's from the gym was in it. She was one of the placard girls -- her job was to strut out on stage between scenes with a placard stating where the scene was set -- and she was actually quite good at it. Gypsy is about the childhood of Gypsy Rose Lee, aka Louise, the neglected daughter of a grandiose stage mom obsessed with turning her other daughter into a star. When the favored daughter runs off to get married, the mom turns her attention to Louise, transforming her into a burlesque performer when their Vaudeville show washes up. The first act was pretty excruciating to watch as it basically drills into the audience's head the atrocious nature of the act the mom created for her daughters and the various boys she picked up along the way. Intentionally or not, it makes fun of musical theater simply by showing just how bad it can be. It also, of course, makes fun of stage moms. But the show is also a commentary on mothers who live out their narcissistic desires vicariously by pushing their kids to do the things they themselves would have liked to do. Although the play was set in the twenties and thirties, it seemed very relevant given today's epidemic of narcissistic parenting, as evidenced by the current spate of mommy blogs. Granted, if I ever have kids, I probably will blog about them, but I hope to maintain enough sense of self that my life (and blog) never revolves entirely around my offspring.
Posted by eklanche at March 17, 2007 05:11 PM