re: Tony and Riff
Posted by: Michael_Portantiere 05:38 pm EDT 05/10/21
In reply to: re: Tony and Riff - Sam890 02:59 pm EDT 05/10/21

Wow, that's out of left field, and smacks of straw man argument.

I don't think it's a straw man argument that SOME people can't seem to understand a deep love existing between two men without it having a sexual or romantic component. And it would seem that maybe Arthur Laurents was one of those people, though it's hard to be sure, because as I noted, he would say anything to get attention. (See below.)

You tend to take a 'fixed interpretation' approach, where there are right ways and wrong ways to interpret theatre.

I can only state what's "right" or "wrong" in my opinion. If others want to interpret Tony and Riff as sexual/romantic lovers, that's their prerogative, but I'm free to express why I think that's a mistake for the story and the characters.

For someone who generally privileges 'authorial intentions' it's rather contradictory to now want to reject this author's claim because it doesn't happen to agree with yours.

In this regard, I would say that Arthur Laurents is a very special case, because throughout his life, and especially in his later years, it seems he would say anything to get attention and to come across as knowing more than everyone else. I imagine he felt this was his prerogative when discussing shows he wrote himself, BUT.....I'll never forget that one of the idiotic statements he made when he directed the 2009 Broadway revival of WEST SIDE STORY was that he purposely removed all comedy from "Gee, Officer Krupke" because, he said, something to the effect that "these are not kids playing around, they're killers." Whereas, of course, anyone who understand the whole point of WEST SIDE STORY knows that the Jets and the Sharks are NOT "killers" by nature and really are just basically kids filled with anger and fear. So if Laurents, who wrote the damn thing, could be so spectacularly wrong about that point, I would say I'm free to think the was also wrong about Tony and Riff being lovers.

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