Wednesday, May 1, 2019


May. Wait a minute?! Wasn't it February about five minutes ago? Where does the time go? Who is stealing it? While I try to orient myself to the fact that it's spring, let's take a moment to thank the host of the IWSG, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his dedicated band of co-hosts: Lee Lowery, Juneta Key,Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin!

May's optional question:

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Globe Theatre

I'll pick 10th grade English class and our Shakespeare project. I decided to build a model of the Globe Theater circa 1600. It took forever to construct, was incredibly fiddly and awkward, and a real pain-in-the-butt to get to school. (But it did have a working trap door on stage.) Even though I got an A on the project, it wasn't the class favorite.

Instead, another student took Marc Antony's speech beginning "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears," from Julius Caesar, and reinterpreted it with a modern rap/hip-hop style. His delivery blew us (and the teacher) away. Afterwards we all cheered and clapped. I wish I could remember some of it.

This guy, named of Lin-Manuel...something would later grow up to

Image: Wikipedia

Just kidding. It wasn't him. 

But I did have the incredible privilege to see the touring version of the musical Hamilton last Saturday and, wow. Talk about the power of language! (Not to mention song.) The hype is true; this is a masterpiece of story-telling. 

There are many things to love about this production, but a few things stand out to the writer in me. There is a scene in which George Washington, dressed in black, is admonishing Alexander for defending Washington's honor. Washington is interested in winning the Revolutionary War; he doesn't care what people are saying behind his back. During their argument, Hamilton warns Washington numerous times not to call him "son".

Later, in the second act, the table turns. (Which is fitting as there's an actual turn-table covering most of the stage floor.) Hamilton finds himself in Washington's role. Dressed in black, he admonishes his actual son not to defend his name against detractors. It's a great moment of symmetry. 


Another pivotal role reversal occurs in Hamilton's relationship to his wife, Eliza, that is especially poignant. Early in the marriage, Eliza is put in the role of begging for Hamilton's attention, just hoping to "be enough", while he focusses on his work. Later, after their marriage falls apart, he is the one left begging her for forgiveness, echoing the words "be enough". It's heart-breaking.

My favorite song was Dear Theodosia because it is beautiful, and I was lucky enough to see the original cast member, Leslie Odom, Jr. (who played Aaron Burr, sir) sing it in concert back in January.


Have you seen Hamilton? Have a favorite character and/or song?