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re: count me among the mysterious puddle of tears
Last Edit: Delvino 12:04 pm EST 01/22/22
Posted by: Delvino 12:03 pm EST 01/22/22
In reply to: count me among the mysterious puddle of tears - Chazwaza 11:22 pm EST 01/21/22

The mystery of our response seems to define, and enhance, the experience. The original Brantley review is quite eloquent, and attempts to get inside that mystery:

"The musical numbers in his portrait of a crowded boardinghouse in a cruel season do not spring organically from the plot. Only rarely does there seem to be a direct connection between Dylan’s lyrics and the actions of the characters. Instead, McPherson dares to present music as belonging to a parallel universe, a realm that abuts the dreary reality of the play’s here and now but never overlaps it. When the superb ensemble sings — tenderly, angrily and often ravishingly — it seems to come from a place their characters could never identify in their conscious minds, but which is essential to their survival. Fate — and economics, climate and other people — aren’t kind to the denizens of this cold, cold landscape. Music is what they have within themselves to keep warm, to keep moving and to keep hearing hope, even if it’s only a whisper.

"...consider what’s also visible on the stage from the beginning: a radio, a piano, a bass, a set of drums and old-timey microphones on stands. These are the instruments of redemption. Again and again, one of the hapless souls onstage will step up to the mike and lead a Dylan classic in a voice that suggests not thought, but deepest feeling made audible. It could be an achingly wistful “I Want You” or an improbably reborn “Like a Rolling Stone,” with a tambourine-rattling Winningham flailing like a sheet in the wind.

"Throughout you become newly aware of themes of rootlessness, isolation, disenfranchisement and — beyond that — an upward-reaching spiritualty in the music of Dylan, and you remember he was indeed a child of the Depression. Exquisitely arranged by Simon Hale and performed by onstage musicians (who sometimes include cast members, with Mason’s jaded Mrs. Burke a knockout on drums), the music has both a plaintive country twang and big-band shimmer.

"Without ever acknowledging the transition, and later never holding for applause, characters morph into both piquant soloists and members of a celestial backup chorus. The lighting transforms them into phantasmal silhouettes, like blurred figures from an old photograph album. And when they dance, it’s with a paradoxical mix of rough individualism and smooth synchronicity.

“As we know, pain comes in all kinds,” Dr. Walker tells the audience early in the show. “Physical, spiritual, indescribable.” Those varieties of pain are all palpable in “Girl,” and they’re never going to be healed. And then the music starts. You don’t know where it comes from, or even exactly what it means. But there’s no mistaking the sound of salvation."

The now departed Brantley at his best, I'd say. That review is able to wring tears.
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