Friday, February 08, 2008

A night out.

On Wednesday night Andy and I went to see the Townsville Choral Society’s production of Les Miserables. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, Les Mis is just full of social commentary. It questions the law, skewed notions of justice, and the prison system. It depicts the greed and corruption that is rife within capitalist systems. It features class struggles and insurrection—but set to music. The battle is a bit glum, but then, much of history isn’t happy. And for the romantics in the audience, there’s also a love story involved.

I must say, though, it was a bit weird sitting in a theatre full of Townsville’s bourgeoisie while watching this musical. During intermission—just after hearing the students’ tirade against the bourgeois who ignore the plight of every day people—everyone was sucking down champagne and wine. It was the same thing when we got free tickets to see a stage production of Animal Farm in November. For both plays, Andy had to wear proper shoes instead of his usual ratty black thongs. Neither of us feels very comfortable in those situations—we’re definitely not a closed-toe couple.

Despite feeling out of place, Les Mis has been my favourite musical since middle school, when I sang young Cosette’s solo for the high school chorus concert (yes, I was a music geek—I was in the choir and I was lead clarinet). I went to see it on Broadway with my mum in year 10. We watched the non-musical version starring Liam Neeson and Claire Danes in high school French class. Rather than limiting itself to a simple love story (like many musicals seem to do), Les Mis tackles issues like suffering, greed, and poverty all in 3 hours.

I can’t help but make comparisons with my other favourite musical, also about class conflict and insurrection—Newsies.

(Okay, so the ending of Newsies is pretty much the exact opposite of what happened in real life, but it is Disney.) Although this film was released when I was in 2nd grade, I watched it for the first time in 2005. The songs are catchy and far more cheerful than those from Les Mis (again, it is Disney), and perfect to sing when facing down the police at a protest.

Like this one:

And our ranks will grow
And we’ll kick their rear
And the world will know
That we’ve been here!

Or this one:

Friends of the friendless, seize the day
Raise up the torch and light the way
Proud and defiant
We'll slay the giant
Let us seize the day

Maybe that’s the secret to a successful revolution—catchy song and choreography. So, creative vegans, get to work writing us some music we can sing and dance to as we turn the world herbivorous!

Since I’m a bit too busy with my PhD to write the score to the vegan revolution, here’s my contribution: anarchist pancakes.

More specifically, pancakes made with both white and (reduced to clear) wholemeal flours, coconut milk and nutmeg and topped with local mango slices and maple syrup made by my auntie in upstate NY.


Anonymous said...

Ah I can understand what you are saying. Why go to a play about social commentary when you have to show up looking like you're upper class? I never enjoy going to "higher class" events like operas, etc. because I hate getting dressed up. Especially when it is to impress people you don't even know!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

your pancakes could definately start a revolution -- if not your writing. interesting how everybody sees the same thing, but think none of it pertains to them. but what made me chuckle inside is that you & Andy aren't closed toe people. never heard that expression before, it's very descriptive and i like it!

the little one said...

Hey, I played clarinet too! I love the idea of a vegan revolution song. Now only if I had some creative talent . . .

Ashasarala said...

I've never seen Les Mis onstage before. I didn't even know it was a musical, I thought it was a play. This is probably because I only saw the Liam Neeson version (which was very good) and there was no outburst of music in that one.

I do want to to read the book. I've got it on my wishlist. Eventually I'll get to it.

Generally, I love musicals. And anything that is beyond Disney fluff that can actually be moving, touching and funny at times is on my list of musicals to see.

Maybe my band can write a song for the vegan revolution... even though 3/5 of us are omnis. :(

Monika K said...

I love musicals, both deep and shallow - but an Animal Farm production sounds awesome (marry me, George O!).

I moved to Alaska from Oklahoma when I was 9 and was shocked to learn that I had to start wearing socks - it was a big adjusment... (-:

Amy said...

Hey! The pancakes look very tasty.

Funny, I vaguely remember the Townsville Choral Society putting on Les Mis about three times when I was a teenager.... Strange!

VeggieGirl said...

Definitely sounds ironic, with the "type" of audience watching the play/musical. I understand what you mean, completely!

Those pancakes = glorious!! yum!!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Le Mis is one of my favorite books EVER!

The pancakes look great-- cute idea :o). I need to make some more pancakes soon.