re: Well what do you expect when everything is woke now?
Posted by: Chazwaza 02:23 pm EST 11/28/23
In reply to: Well what do you expect when everything is woke now? - Mmac72 09:03 am EST 11/28/23

I'm not sure that making Bobby in Company a woman qualifies as "woke".

And taking a thing that has been a hit before, or a cultural staple in some way, with a male character, and doing a new version with it now female is something people have been doing since long before "woke" was a thing (in its original intended meaning, or what it has come to mean). Many times I think these "now it's a woman!" remakes are unnecessary at best (but nothing is "unnecessary" if people enjoyed it and artists got paid and it didn't lose money) and at worst a cash-grab masquerading as opportunity that ends up diminishing women (in the sense that they're aren't creating something new and organic, but just taking something men had success with and doing it over)... but sometimes it's wonderful and illuminating. Clearly they intended that this Company would be that. For me it was not.

This is just one example, but any director/adapter who has sabotages the scene/song/play/arc of Bobby by making the Bobby/Amy "marry me" scene into a scene played between a woman and her gay male bestie, and has that motivate and lead into "Marry Me A Little" has a foundational misunderstanding how why that scene is there, why that song is there, and how they work. The is one of the most important sections of the play, and that scene being a seeming joke that becomes genuine (and has 2 people seemingly on the same funny page about relationships and each other end up with the rug pulled out from Bobby where he finds he's actually alone on it and Amy, for all the exasperation, does love and want to be with Paul) is very key to motivating and setting up the song Bobby sings here, the epic song that leads to ending act one and get Bobby half-way to him finally breaking down his shell and fear of vulnerability and connection with Being Alive... that is completely sabotaged in this Jamie/Bobbie version. Not only like undercut, but it just is not the same scene. And when I saw it Bobbie was directed to perform MMAL with a knowing wink, sarcasm and dismissal as if Woody Allen were doing it. I understand why on the surface one might think that's a valid way to take this, to have Bobbie performing a protective distance from the idea, but that is not what this song is or has to be in the play, it needs to be Bobby making a case for himself, having this idea just been rejected, having been vulnerable to Amy and told he was mistaken, a case for not needing to grow any more, for him not being the problem, for the problem not being internal with him, it is the reason the play continues and it beautiful sets up Being Alive and makes the song/lyric even more impactful because we can see Bobby buying this idea of a sort-of relationship as an option, where Being Alive shows him breaking that down.
And yes I know the song was not in the original production... but it was written for it. I think it's in the fabric of how Bobby and the show live, and the show is better for it being said/sung. But even without the song, what was there always was the Amy/Bobby "marry me" scene. The same thing is achieved in the play, we just don't get a sung internal monologue expanding on it and setting up the final aria. But in a show about a character who does more observing than talking, who we largely only hear from in internal monologue song, it is, to me, crystal clear how much MMAL, as the middle of 3 internal monologues from our observer-protagonist, needs to be there and to be meaning and functioning as it used to. In this new context, it is coming off a scene that's rendered a comedy sketch, with no reality to it.

Sure it's all fun and funny when male Jamie is doing "Getting Married Today", on the surface that works great (and as a gay man I always love seen gays get to do stuff, especially like this)... until it turns into a woman begging her gay male friend (who she's never had any sliver of a romantic or sexual relationship with and never could) to marry her so everyone will leave them alone about being coupled... leading into a song where Bobby is meant to genuinely be making a case for the stilted half-vulnerable half-committed (half-way to "being alive") version of a relationship that a marriage with a *sexually and romantically compatible but not quite a connection for it* Amy would be.

I'm rambling. Maybe I'm wrong! Who knows! Maybe my attachment and passion for how it was written and worked beautiful for decades in countless productions is just me projecting what I wish was there, and Elliott just exposed it and turned it into something somehow better? I don't see it but who knows!
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