Thursday, 30 September 2010

You Are 22...

A few weeks ago I very spontaneously bought tickets to Avenue Q. It was literally a case of walking past the theatre, joking to my sister that we could see the matinee, to my surprise she actually agreed. Come 5pm, I found myself in the second to last row in the balcony of the Wyndham's Theatre.

Avenue Q- more than just puppet sex

I originally saw Avenue Q during previews, the day before my A Level Maths exam, and loved it (having already obtained the sheet music and CD). I was interested to see how my perception of the show has changed 4 years later. A lot has happened in those four years, I've lost my puppy fat, made a lot of good friends, done a lot of things I'd never dreamed of doing and, through a lot hard work, somehow got a Masters in Chemistry. Coming out the other side, I feel I'm better for those experiences and now find myself in a position echoing those of the characters in the show. I was only to realise this when I heard the line "You are twenty-two, and you live on Avenue Q". Shit, I'm 22 and just like Princeton, I'm 22 and looking for my purpose in life. And just like Kate Monster "I'm kinda pretty and pretty damn start" and still don't have a boyfriend. For once a show I can directly relate to, although not in a good way.

Avenue Q has always been a bittersweet story but at the tender age of 17 I only noticed the funny songs and the puppet sex. I wasn't sure if this show had enough depth. Now I've realised it was not that it wasn't there, it was just that I was oblivious to it. Just like Christian at the beginning of Moulin Rouge, I realised that I wanted to write about all these things but I couldn't as I'd never experienced them.
No, this wasn't just an excuse to post a picture of Ewan Mcgregor, he has a point.

Watching Avenue Q now, as a rather more embittered 22 year old, I began to notice Princeton's inability to find his way in life or Kate Monster's inability to connect and have a relationship. I left the show actually feeling better about myself as I realised I'm not the only person in this situation and perhaps I shouldn't feel so ashamed.

Just as I've grown into Sondheim, I'm finding myself growing into shows that never appealed to me before. After performing Make Our Garden Grow in Budleigh, I discovered Bernstein's grandiose Candide. Never before had I ventured so close to the territory of opera. But, after watching the Kristen Chenoweth production, I have to say I loved it. Yes, it is all very silly, but it is knowingly silly rather than The Boy Friend that thinks it is silly and clever but fails.

In The Heights- If you haven't checked out this show yet, you should
As I come to the realisation that I do have to face real life, I find new meaning in old songs and new songs that I can relate to. No longer is Breath, from In The Heights (a song about not wanting to tell your parents how you really feel about your education and university) the soundtrack to my life. I now find myself drawn to Being Alive, as Bobby laments the fact that all his friends are in serious relationships and he has no one, and Stranger In This World from Taboo as I've found myself feeling more distant from my family and unable to connect with the world.

What the future may hold I do not know, I still have a sea of Broadway love songs that I just don't get the meaning of. As Christian says "How could I understand love when I've never been in love?" And that's the one thing I feel is missing. Love. There are so many songs about being in love that I've always shied away from but now I'd just like to be loved like all those lovelorn heroines.

1 comment:

Antimini said...

I saw Avenue Q just after my graduation (the first one!). All my friends were still at Uni and I was wondering what to do with a BA from Cambridge. Not much apparently. Not long after I was unemployed and turning 23.

At least when Kate monster complains about being single we can join in with a giant 'F*CK!'. I think that helps. :)