Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fucking Musicals and Shit

Stupid POS posted that frumpy housewife video of the British lady singing the song from Les Mis, and then I wanted to listen to "Do you hear the people sing," and "Red and Black," and then I just sort of got lost in youtube, listening to all kinds of musicals.

I had planned on doing something useful. I stayed up the other night (yes, all night) watching the anime movie Gankatsuou. It's the story of the Count of Monte Christo by Alexander Dumas, but told in sci-fi anime from Albert's perspective, rather than the Count's. It's, uhm, well... It's 24 made-for-TV episodes, each about 25 minutes long. Yes, that's 10 hours, and yes, I watched the whole thing in one night. And then went to work without sleep for another ten hours, because it was already 7:00 in the morning, and if I'd gone for a nap, I'd have gotten fired.

I'm 35, almost, and have two point five kids. Men like me aren't supposed to be doing that kind of thing, staying up all night watching cartoons.

So I crashed when I got home, and woke up wide awake at 3:00 am, ready to piss and do something useful. Instead I ended up watching musicals on youtube, and it's all POS' fault.

So, thanks, Frater mi, you continue to help in mysterious ways.

Musicals. What is it about them that sucks me in the way they do? It's drama, it's music, it's passion plays... They're ridiculous, in many ways, but at the same time they're beautiful. They express raw human emotions, not just the little ones, but the most terrifying, awe-inspiring human character traits that are formed by the emotions, and they examine how that trait can affect a life in magnified, grandiose ways. They capture the drama of our lives and make being human look interesting.

I mean, take the song from Les Mis, "Do you hear the people sing." Listen to the lyrics, the music, ignore the hand gestures, the facial expressions, those are awesome on stage, but in a song like that, it looks weird. It's an anthem of liberty and revolution. Now watch this version. It puts it into a perspective that we can too easily forget. It's not a song capturing the passions of the French Revolution, it's capturing the IDEAL of the best quality of Revolution. The world has seen it in France, America, China, the Soviet Union, seen it done through capitalism and communism, seen it put in action to accomplish good and evil, in both economic and social systems. No mattter how it turned out, you know that THIS was what they were trying to do.

What is it about a musical that can get into a grown man's mind? I think it's that we can see our own petty dramas expressed in ideal form. I mean, when I think my boss is being a prick for expecting me to show up every day by 9:00 wearing the dress code the way we're supposed to, and I'm bitching about it to my friends, it's fucking petty. But in my own eyes, I'm singing the anthem of the oppressed of the world, you know? Ridiculous.

Relating all this to magic, I think we find in the musicals the same things we find in our pursuit of the Great Work. The meaningless trivialities of our daily lives fade into obscurity, and we remember for a moment that Being Human should be capitalized. We see the value in the feelings we share, we see for a moment that there is more to life than what it looks like, and that we are not alone in our moments of triumph or despair.

I guess that's the goal of all theater, film, and art in general. Magic itself is also an Art, as some have noted. Each ritual is a passion play, we are drawing down the Intelligences that embody the primal source of the things we experience, removing for a moment the cheap and paltry manifestations of that Ideal for long enough to experience it, learn from it, become initiated into the fullness of that Ideal so that we can live lives that channel it into our daily activities more purely, enriching our own lives and those of all who come into contact with us.

Maybe musicals demonstrate to us that there is something intrinsically beautiful that can be found in our own lives, that the feelings we have can be put to music, in metered rhyme, and can be made to be holy, noble, Ideal. Maybe that's what a lot of what we do with magic is all about too.
Post a Comment