Elizabeth: Emotional Impact

My week of vacation had barely started on Saturday when I burst into tears.

It was a great day.

Hmm . . . perhaps I should explain.

After a long, long, long wait, I finally got a chance to see a performance of Hamilton this Saturday.  The first time the show came to town the performances were completely sold out in a heartbeat.  I diligently entered the ticket lottery every day but, sadly, was never successful.  I was disappointed, not just because I wanted to see the show, but because I had been trying to get the tickets for my son, who really, really wanted to see the show.

Alas, no tickets.

Instead, I gave him the book, Hamilton the Revolution, which has all of the lyrics and story notes and such, and a promise of tickets “someday.”

This year, “someday” finally appeared on the calendar – it was this Saturday as a matter of fact.  We hopped on the train, headed to the city, and made our way to the beautiful Orpheum theater with a few thousand other folks.

Now, American history is not my strong suit, but I knew the basic gist of what would happen in the show.  I’d seen a behind-the-scenes documentary about it on the local PBS station, and my son had helpfully gone through the songs in the first act with me, so I’d have a clue what they were saying.

Nevertheless, as the final song was sung and the audience was surging to their feet with applause at the end of the performance, I was crying like a baby who’d been completely caught by surprise.

How did the creators (and cast) do that? Continue reading

Michaeline: Love Narratives in Six Minutes or Less

Whirl around as love makes you dizzy! (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

I fell off the “No YouTube” wagon hard this morning, but my shame is your game! I found two great videos that capture that thrilling, fizzy bit of fictional love, all condensed down into a short dose that you can watch while you have a nice cup of soothing beverage.

You may remember the anime clip of “Helpless” from Hamilton that I introduced last fall. (Sadly, the user has closed their YouTube account, and I can’t find it anymore.) However, I found a whole slew of other versions this morning. Artists *love* Hamilton, and a lot of them are doing animatics (which are either primitive animation or elaborate moving story boards, depending on your point of view and the clip in question) that allow people to draw and share their own visions of the popular musical. Here’s a new one from Szin on YouTube (4:09). Lots of blushing and twirling around as Alexander courts Eliza and wins her hand.

If you prefer your fictional romance with a little more live action, here’s a wonderful skit that Anne Hathaway and James Corden performed on The Late Late Show with James Corden (April 20, 2017; 5:28). If there’s any irony, you have to dig it out yourself. What they do here is distill the typical rom com film down to the key plot points, and they’ve chosen to sing little snippets of songs that perfectly reinforce each turn and twist. It’s all there: establishing shot of heroine alone, the cute meet, the big fall, the major problem, the dark night, the flight from love, and the chase that ends in reconciliation. Lots of lingering looks and more twirling around. (-: For me, it’s not a romance unless it puts my head into a whirl.

One think I really love about James Corden is that he’s not ashamed to be an old softie. He gladly embraces the happiness and the little pains, and encourages the rest of us to not be so hard and condescending.

I hope you enjoy the videos. May Day is around the corner, and in that certain temperate zone in the northern hemisphere, that means romance is in the air – the flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing and the May Poles (at least symbolically) are popping up. Let your heart turn light with a little spring fancy this week. I certainly intend to!

Elizabeth: (Re) Writing History

Stories Yet To Be WrittenAs a fan and writer of Regency fiction, I’m interested in the way historical events are portrayed in works of fiction and how perceptions can be changed and/or influenced, even when they are not the main focus of the story.  I’ve unintentionally learned a lot of random bits of history – especially British history – through romance novels. Not a complete education by any means, though I did recently ace the Napoleon category on Jeopardy.

I’ve been thinking about the combination of history and the arts since weekend when I came across a documentary on the musical Hamilton during a bout of random channel-surfing (after I’d met my NaNo word targets, of course). Continue reading