Do you hear that? That is the silence that has descended now that the gears in my head have finally wound down--I've finished my application for Madison. It is printed, bound, shiny and ready to be posted. I just want to sleep with it under my pillow for a few days. For Luck. Madison sent me a link to a website so I can track the progress of my application...yeah. Maybe wait a few weeks before I start compulsively checking.
But more on that anon. I decided to reward myself by going to see Chicago Shakespeare's production of "Passion," another Sondheim/Lapine musical. "Passion" is a hard play to put on--it's not particularly happy, and the music is very...weird. The singers in the show were solidly good, but not spectacular, except for Ana Gasteyer, who positively inhabited her character. Everyone else leaned a little to the "musical theatre" end of the spectrum--she totally ruled as Fosca. Overall, a solid interpretation of a weird little play that is also not without it's faults.
I like "Passion" because I can relate to the story. Basically Giorgio, a solider, is totally enraptured with Clara until he is shipped out to a dreary outpost in 1860s Italy, and becomes the object of Fosca's burning affection. Fosca is ugly, ill and slightly anti-social, the opposite of the angelic Clara. He resists for most of the play, but her love for him is so passionate, so all-consuming that in the end his resistance is burned away. One of my favourite lines from the play last night was "I don't know how to love. No one's ever shown me how to love. All I have are these emotions, and I don't know what to do with them." I thought that "Passion" would teach me a lesson about temperance in love, but instead it teaches the opposite: revel in your feelings, because that is the most honest thing of all. The ending reminded me vaguely of "Pride & Predjudice," where the lovers' one kiss conveys more passion than anything Lydia might have done--so too Giorgio's cautious handholding with Fosca is somehow more satisfying than the beginning of the play which is lights up on him and Clara en flagrante.
I'm not a huge fan of "Shakespeare" companies, I worry that you limit yourself too much, so I'm always glad to see them branching out. If I had to pair this show with another one, I would actually do "Sweet Charity" since both deal with women who are not afraid to love or constrained by the role that society has for them.
I wanted to put up a picture from the show I saw last night, even though I didn't think the Giorgio was anything spectacular. But then I found this one of Audra MacDonald and Michael Cerveris, with no pants on. Enjoy!