Thursday, October 16, 2014

Movie Musical Review: Passion (Stephen Sondheim)

This musical I found on Your Tube. Stephen Sondheim music and lyrics.  Book James Lapine.
 Being about passion, it has a scene that is inappropriate at the start, but other than that it tells its story well.  This remind me of what Federico Garcia Lorca would write.  We are introduced to to Giorgio (Jere Shea) and Clara (Marin Mazzie) who are madly in love, though Clara is married to a different man.  Our lovers must part however, as Giorgio is a Captain in the military, and has orders to a different assignment. 
Giorgio meets a new group of men, including the Colonel, his ranking officer, whose cousin, Fosca (Donna Murphy) lives with him, as her parents have both passed away.  Turns out her story is truly tragic.  She was married, but only to a man who took his dowry, and then borrowed more from her parents, and left her parents broke.  He did not love her.  In fact, he was already married.
She was crushed and defeated, and now she is sick, and has nervous convulsions.
However, when Giorgio arrives, she is intent on making him her lover.  For her part, she loves him from the moment she sees him from the window.  This has the feel of an obsessive lover.  She follows him, and he wants to leave her.  In fact he takes a four-day leave to be with Clara, and writes a letter explaining his affections are elsewhere.  Fosca takes this as a rival, but does not give up. 
The doctor, who also treats Fosca, asks him to reconsider, and placate her, as it would be good for her health.  This he does, but she still carries things too far.  She forces him to write a letter, and dictates the words.  A love letter. 
Giorgio finally gives in.  He realizes he has never been loved like this before.  However it is too late.  Fosca's health is going.  And Giorgio's mind cracks under all the pressure. 
This musical, like I said, has a Lorca feel.  In Lorca it seams things never turn out right.  That is true her as well.  Sometimes, love is hard.
What is the meaning of true love.  This play concludes with Giorgio singing to Fosca
No one has ever loved me
As deeply as you.
No one has truly shown me
What love could be like until now:

Not pretty or safe or easy
But more than I ever knew.
And Fosca responds, To die loved is to have lived.

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