Sunday, May 25

South Pacific - One More Time

Apropos of our recent conversation about Rodgers and Hammerstein here is a wonderful op-ed piece that appeared in today's New York Times.

1 comment:

Tallulah Morehead said...

An excellent, thoughtful piece. Thanks for pointing my face towards it.

I have actually seen SOUTH PACIFIC on stage. Okay, it was at Orange Coast College, not Lincoln Center(I also saw that Reba MacIntyre Televersion. Eh.), but I knew there was more to it than that mediocre movie. (I always HATED the color-tinting in the movie, which destroys the visual beauty. And please, Ray Walston should always keep his shirt on.)

But yes, SP is a dark piece on war, death and racism. I've always been focussed more on it's attacks on racism. The answer to Emile's question of "What are you for?" seemed to me to be heard in YOU'VE GOT TO BE CAREFULLY TAUGHT. But Rich redirected my attention to where it belongs, the show's depiction of war. (He made it sound like tune-filled episode of MASH.) Having watched Ken Burns's documentary on WWII last year, much of this seemed to chime with that. There's no such thing as "A Good War".

I'm not sure which was more offensive, Bush's sacrifice of golf, or Laura's inane statement that no family has suffered more than they have, but I think the obscenity prize goes to Laura. Which of her kids have died in Iraq? Which of her kids lost their father (if only) in Iraq? Her statement fills me with rage. What evil people we have running our government.

But SP is great, as Rich points out, because it does strip away romantic illusions. Nellie is a sweet, corn-fed heroine who discovers she's a blazing racist, and it's news to her, as Cable's racism is news to him.

Yes, I like my musicals dark, which is not to say I don't love SINGING IN THE RAIN.