Monday, October 24, 2005

Missed Saigon (aka McMusicals)

Imagine life as one big musical. When a person starts singing a song, everyone within a 15-feet radius will be compelled to dance and sing along even if it’s against their will. I was thinking of that over the weekend.

The whole McFamily was in Tagaytay for my brother’s wedding Saturday at 2pm. Most of the family went up Friday evening. My sister and I followed the next morning because I finished work very early Saturday morning. Determined to make the drive very relaxing and stress-free, I loaded up my iPod with songs from musicals.

It has been months since I last listened to those songs and I never realized how much I missed them. So I found myself relaxing to the familiar tunes of Barbra Streisand’s “I Have a Dream/We Kiss In The Shadows” (from The Broadway Album) and Jonathan Pryce as the Engineer in “The American Dream” (from Miss Saigon) while driving along South Superhighway.

When we reached Sta. Rosa, the Saigon song “This Is The Hour” started playing. I found myself getting lost in the song, wherein Kim reveals her son to Thuy—who is betrothed to Kim—and he demands that the child be killed. Okay, I really think that the lyrics are quite awkward in several places (the Engineer berates Kim: “Did you not get what he said? / There’s a big screw loose inside you / I will rip it out of your head!” and when Kim brings out the gun, Thuy sings: “Of course you have a gun! / ...and it’s a U.S. gun / a gun that lost the war!”). But towards the end of the song, after Kim shoots Thuy (with matching gunshot “Bang!”) and the chorus starts singing “This is the hour / this is our land…,” the hairs on my arms started to rise, and tears welled up. What was happening? Suddenly the song had a whole new impact on me. It is the power a piece of music can have, how it collects and wraps up memories around it. And when you hear the song again after a long time, those memories are released and they come crashing back, violent and unbidden. I had to look away and wipe my tears surreptitiously so that my sister won’t notice.

Then Barbra’s rendition of Send In The Clowns came on, and I was instantly transported to Baguio circa late 80s. We were in a bar at the old Baguio Country Club, and a lounge singer was belting out that song. So far so good until she got to the line: “Making my entrance again with my usual flair.” With full confidence and panache of someone oblivious, the singer sang: “Making my entrance again with my usually flared….” I guess she always wore bell-bottom pants to her singing engagements.

Ah, those were the days. To quote Cats: “Memories… I can smile at the old days. I was beautiful then.”

All throughout our stay in Tagaytay and even on our way home, I played songs from musicals over and over. This morning on my way to work, I was singing along to Streisand, Salonga and other stage superstars. I think I’ll be in musical mode for the next few days.

I don’t expect my love affairs to last for long,
Never fool myself that my dreams will come true,
Being used to trouble I anticipate it,
But all the same I hate it. Wouldn’t you?


Blogger Nelson said...

"This is the Hour" also had a very emotional impact on me. But nowadays I am just intrigued by the sopranos making "tili" at the end while singing the very high notes at "One voice to lead us." ;-)

12:18 AM  
Blogger fried-neurons said...

So what happens now?

4:27 PM  
Blogger McVie said...

Another suitcase in another hall.

5:22 PM  
Blogger fried-neurons said...

LOL! As my bf would say... "Gays and their musicals!" hahahaha...

6:58 PM  

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