Well, many things have happened since my last journal entry, mostly birthday related. Birthdays are fun. I should celebrate at least once per year. Some years I skip, but this one was good, thanks to my excellent friends. Danie brought me a book full of delicious vegetarian recipes. I think tomorrow I will have to try one of them, because it is indeed vegetarian day tomorrow. Andrea took me for an insanely awesome Indian meal at Babur in Toronto. In between trips to Babur, I dream of Goan fish curry. It’s that good. Andrea knows this and makes sure I get at least one serving of it per year. And Lissa took me to see Rent last night.
I’ve got mixed feelings about Rent. On one hand, it has some great songs, and great dance numbers too. It can be a lot of fun to watch. On the other hand, some of the songs are downright jarring, and I find it hard to identify with the characters. None of them feel like they should have to pay rent, and are therefore being evicted from the building they’re squatting in. Some of them are artists, but feel like taking money for their work is “selling out.” So, the two key messages are, “Don’t pay your rent” and “Don’t take money for your art.” The latter message, especially, seems hypocritical when spouted in a lavish Broadway musical. Creating pathos from this formula is not easy.
This was the second time I’ve seen Rent. The first time was at the Pantages Theatre in Toronto. This one was a touring company making a stop at Hamilton Place. I would have to say that this production was a bit rockier than the first. The cast was definitely not of even quality. Some of the performers were first rate, singing and dancing, never missing a note. The actor playing the transvestite Angel had a riveting stage presence. The Mimi and Maureen characters were also outstanding. However, the strong actors only made the weak ones look weaker. The Tom Collins character seemed to lack soul and had little charisma, especially when paired with Angel. The Roger character, who was supposed to be a musician, frequently hit notes that were sharp.
Overall, it was fun to be out. The second act is better than the first, in my opinion, so it left me feeling good. And, having recently seen Team America: World Police, I was brought back to the Lease scene in my head, and the song “Everyone’s got AIDS!” It was a bonus laugh for the night. 😛