re: Frank's private tragedy
Posted by: peter3053 03:08 am EDT 03/15/19
In reply to: re: Frank's private tragedy - Michael_Portantiere 08:07 pm EDT 03/14/19

I can understand how the thought of a movie might be offensive to Charley.

Theatre writers often went to LA and found that their talent was wasted there, that they knew they had no control over their authorship, that movie companies bought up rights then changed everything...and as we know, many went back East disillusioned. I think that is the context of Charley's disfavor.

I also do think, on a general note, that Merrily is one of Sondheim and Furth's greatest achievements: it poses such questions about values. I must say as a writer (of limited experience) I have struggled to write what I truly believe in, and often find that one is being drawn off to include or exclude things based on other people's values. I think Charley is deeply sensitive to any undermining of his fierce sense of integrity: and the sadness partly is that Frank partly inspired that integrity ("Our Time") and then walked away from it.

I suppose too that in the theatre, where the audience is narrower, writers can stick to their guns a bit more. Movies must be so much more commercial (or at least were so in the era of Merrily's setting.) and appealing to a broad audience because the money costs are so much greater.

A film comes to mind as an example: Shadowlands. On TV and stage originally, in the play version, C S Lewis' faith was absolutely true to the man as biographized; the film more or less had to airbrush out the very center of the man, and the images at the end suggested him heading out to an earthly paradise; not his way of thinking about his experience at all.

And gosh, how many movie musicals have been adulterations of the original intentions of the writers?

So I can believe Charley's anger. For him, money is a tool of existence. For Frank it has replaced his life goal.

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