Guest Blogger: Dylan Savage

Rent was the first live musical I saw on Broadway, and it
was a completely amazing experience for me. Like I mentioned in class, I think
I encountered what other people feel when seeing their own favorite medium
performed. The physical reaction I felt wasn’t one of disgust and terror like I
had in The Misanthrope… instead I felt
such an intense happiness swelling in my chest that I couldn’t help mouthing
every song to myself and almost dancing in my seat to the songs. I was smiling
for hours afterwards. During the sad parts (I won’t mention details in case
anyone hasn’t seen it yet and wants to) I was moved to tears several times,
which was a much stronger reaction than I had in Madama Butterfly even though I felt attached to that piece as well.
I feel like this experience demonstrated to me the way that art can evoke such
strong involuntary guttural reactions, and it has made me more closely analyze
the way I react to other pieces. I try to decipher exactly what I’m feeling at
the end of a show, and then instead of saying that I simply liked or disliked
the feeling I got I try to figure out whether I experienced what the artist intended for me to feel.

I went into Spring Awakening with several rave reviews from
my friends, so I had extremely high expectations that it would be my new
favorite musical. After the performance, I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt
about what I had just seen. It wasn’t that I found the material inappropriate,
and it didn’t exactly make me uncomfortable because I had anticipated the
performance to incorporate a bit of raunchiness. I think it was that I thought
the performance as a whole fell a little flat, and I wasn’t really emotionally
invested in the storyline. I agree with many of my classmates that the story is
disjointed and at times unbelievable, but as we read in the beginning of the
semester the musical as an art form requires the suspension of reality as its
basis and I therefore try not to consider plausibility in whether or not I
enjoy the performance. However, I do feel like there was something missing
onstage that didn’t reach out to me the way that Rent did.

After giving it some thought, I came to the following
conclusion. Going into Rent, I had seen the movie and listened to the
soundtrack millions of times, so it was like seeing my favorite band in
concert. I had only heard the 2 songs from Spring Awakening that we listened to
in class, so it was an entirely new sensory experience all around and I think I
was a bit overwhelmed trying to incorporate the story, the acting, and the
music into one comprehensive heuristic while all at the same time trying to do
so in a way that would align myself with the popular opinion that Spring
Awakening was worthy of the Tonys and acclaim it received.

When we got back to the New Yorker, I bought the soundtrack
on iTunes and listened to it again all the way through. I had liked a couple of
the songs during the performance, namely “Mama Who Bore Me” and “The Bitch of
Living,” but listening to it in my room without watching the performance I
absolutely loved every single song. I’m even listening to it as I write this
post, and by now I’ve memorized almost the entire musical. I think this strange
phenomenon is due in part to the fact that the soundtrack is recorded much like
a CD and doesn’t sound like a Broadway cast recording, so it plays more like a
band’s album whose music I enjoy. I want to see the show again now that I know
the story and the music, and I think it will be really interesting to see how
my opinion differs the second time around. Once the stagehands’ strike ends,
hopefully I will have the chance to do this before I leave

New York

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1 Comment

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One response to “Guest Blogger: Dylan Savage

  1. Miriam

    It’s great to open up to new things. I was furious when I heard people comparing SA to RENT but there are similarities and the music, of course is amazing!

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