May. 4th, 2017 12:28 pm
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
[personal profile] liv
So most excellent Hamilfan [personal profile] rmc28 drew our attention to a local production, by a theatre school, of a Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, Bring it on. [personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait, [ profile] fivemack and [personal profile] ceb joined [personal profile] rmc28 for the first performance on Friday night, and [personal profile] cjwatson, [personal profile] jack and I went to the second, Saturday night performance. In the event, the people who went on the first night were so impressed that [personal profile] ceb wanted to go again and managed to get a ticket for Judith as well.

I really love that Bring it on is a show about teenaged girls competing in cheerleading competitions, and that it absolutely unquestioningly respects its subjects. It's a proper coming of age story about working through relationship problems, which absolutely matter, they're not trivial "teen drama", they're a vehicle for moral development. And it takes cheerleading seriously as a sport which takes skill and hard work, and being team captain is a meaningful leadership challenge, which shouldn't be notable but is really quite unusual in media.

In agreement with [personal profile] rmc28, I did not love that they cast it with a cast who are all white appearing, when a big part of the plot is about race. That is, much of the story is about the white lead suddenly transplanted into a much more ethnically mixed school, and there is a lot of subverting the white saviour narrative and underlining the complex intersection of race and class and the ways that school districts enforce covert race segregation. I mean, yes, it's Cambridge and it's not likely that the theatre school had enough visibly dark skinned students to form half the cast of a large musical. I still felt somewhat uncomfortable with the probably white and definitely English cast differentiating the characters who in the script are supposed to be African-American by means of accent and body language. I'm not honestly sure what would have been better: choosing not to put on this particular show at all? Or not differentiating the Jackson characters, in which case the script would make little sense?

[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait has written a review coming from the perspective of someone who's knowledgeable about musicals. I'm really not at all familiar with the genre, so I enjoyed the show on a much more simplistic level. Great choreography, great characterization, and Miranda's trademark catchy music and clever word-play and doing dazzling things with different musical styles. I loved the secondary plots and the ways that everybody, with the pointed exception of the antagonist, gets character development. I agree with [personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait that the storyline about the social outcast Bridget finding people who accept her rather than changing herself to be cool is just lovely. And I was really impressed with the way that the show not only says, but believes, that there's more to life than being popular in high school and winning competitions. Not that popularity and competitions aren't important, but friendship and community are more important. That message is everywhere, but so many stories undermine it by shaping the whole plot around the good guys winning.

Then last weekend I ran a Saturday morning service. Several of our regulars were ill, so we had just nine people, meaning we had to leave out big chunks of the service, including the formal public Torah reading. But it went really well anyway; I read the Torah portion from the Chumash, the printed book, and a really great, involved, thoughtful discussion just spontaneously happened. Which is all the more impressive considering the parshe in question was Tazria-Metzorah, the long section from Leviticus about purification from various forms of contamination / contagion. And when I said we didn't need a sermon since we'd already had such a great spontaneous shiur, people insisted I preach anyway, which is certainly flattering! I talked a bit about what happens when you have to do something which is awful for an individual for the greater good, whether it's a public health thing as implied in Leviticus or something like a child protection issue. The safeguards and transparency that need to be in place to prevent corruption, and the way that Leviticus sets out a moral system through what may seem like endless ritual detail.

Because it was a bank holiday, I managed to get home as well, and had a really lovely relaxing weekend playing the second half of our D&D game. I'm really enjoying playing Bela, a character I based off Bel from a proposed but not yet actually implemented Vorkosigan game. They (I decided I couldn't be dealing with it pronouns as in Bujold's original) are ridiculously charming (statted on charisma and strength, and really playing that up), flirt with everybody in sight, and also seem to have picked up the role of curtailing some of the endless discussions that can arise with an inexperienced D&D group. Plus the ship's cat, Sabre, turned out to be a PC played by 8yo Judith, and having a PC familiar is just glorious.

And then on Monday I had a little time with [personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait, which consisted of a not entirely successful shopping trip when our attempts to find out where was open on BH Monday fell flat, but we acquired shiny purple wool for my next knitting project, and had exciting burgers in Ed's Diner, and got a chance to talk.

I came back from the Bank Holiday weekend and straight into the last three weeks of term, when I'm in charge of the first year teaching. So work is intense, but good. And I'm still struggling to keep up with DW whenever I'm busy, which I'm really enjoying, and I hope the fast flowing conversation keeps up.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-04 11:54 am (UTC)
lilysea: Tree hugger (Tree hugger)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
So most excellent Hamilfan [personal profile] rmc28 drew our attention to a local production, by a theatre school, of a Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, Bring it on.

Oh, wow! I'd seen the film and really liked it, but I didn't know it was a musical as well!

I <3 Lin-Manuel Miranda.


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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