theme of Phantom
Posted by: peter3053 03:32 pm EST 12/10/18
In reply to: Prince docu on PBS - AnObserver 02:55 pm EST 12/10/18

Keep in mind that, in the past, closer to these actual productions, Prince was more acute about the themes; distance lends casualness. For example, Prince said of Evita that he was fascinated by the way that politicians can, through propaganda, make audiences cheer actions which, if they were less emotionally invested, they might be appalled by. That's why his version of Evita works and no other does, including the film: the show is about the show itself: he edited everything except the political game and its display. (He used to liken the theatrics of Evita to the Nuremberg rallies, hence the banners and torches.) There is also a marvelous dichotomy: Evita believes she is essential to Argentina; but certain scenes also suggest the roulette game of politics, hence generals playing musical chairs and the image of the revolving door/bed in her rise-to-prominence apartment in Act One, and Peron saying "The people belong to no-one - they are fickle...")

But Phantom is different from the shows prior; Prince said he wanted to do a big romantic show, a departure from his more brittle works.

Nonetheless Phantom does have a theme: the unjust frustration of ugliness, and the results of said frustration, in la belle monde.

The Phantom kills, grasps at beauty, and hears music nobody else can hear because the world refuses affection to the grotesque. (Prince realized his theme when he had Maria Bjornson bedeck the proscenium with golden images of ecstasy - a bitter contrast.)

Strangely, the exact same theme was Sondheim's PASSION. Only it was a woman, and she didn't even kill, only offer to sacrifice herself.

But people originally baulked at that show, and were happy to go around the block and see an ugly man commit murder and stalk a soprano, and love it.

That's human beings for you!

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