Monday, November 15, 2010

So Much Happiness!?

Relationships are endlessly fascinating. In today's musical theater moment the opening scene to Stephen Sondheim's exploration of Love the musical PASSION based on the movie directed by Ettore Scola intense film Passione d'Amore lays bare the raw emotions sparked by  "...that day when two glanced at each other In the park" falling under the spell of connection, surging forth feelings of love and that intangible hard to put into words-- something else.

In his master work Sondheim offers a mature look at Love with all its complicated twists and turns.



Lyrics from the opening scene reveal the uncertainty, the questioning and the pain bubbling under the joy of union and recognition...

Clara
That we ever should have met
Is a miracle
Giorgio
No, inevitable -
Clara
Then inevitable, yes,
But I confess it was the look
Giorgio
The look?
Clara
The sadness in your eyes
That day when we glanced at each other
In the park.
Giorgio
We were both unhappy.
Clara
Unhappiness can be seductive.
Giorgio
You pitied me...
Both
How quickly pity leads to love.
Clara
All this happiness
Merely from a glance in the park
So much happiness, so much love... 
Giorgio
I thought I knew what love was.
Clara
I wish we might have met so much sooner
I could have given you -
Giorgio
I thought I knew what love was.
Clara
- my youth.
Giorgio
I thought I knew how much I could feel.
Clara
All the time we lost...
Giorgio
I didn't know what love was.
Clara
I've never known what love was.
Giorgio
But now -
Clara
And now -
Both
- I do.
It's what I feel with you,
The happiness I feel with you.
Clara
So much happiness -
Giorgio
You are so beautiful...
Clara
- happening by chance in a park.
Giorgio
Not by chance, by necessity -
Clara
Surely, this is happiness -
Giorgio
- by the sadness that we saw in each other.
Clara
- no one else has ever felt before!
Both
Just another love story, that's what they would claim.
Another simple love story - aren't all of them the same?
Clara
No, but this is more, we feel more!
Both
This is so much more!
(Smiling at each other)
Like every other love story.
Some say happiness comes and goes.
then this happiness is a kind of happiness
No one really knows.
Giorgio
I thought I knew what love was.
Clara
I'd only heard what love was.
Giorgio
I thought it was no more than a name for yearning.
Clara
I thought it was what kindness became.
Giorgio
I'm learning -
Clara
I thought where there was love there was shame.
Giorgio
- that with you -
Clara
But with you -
Both
- there's just happiness.
Clara
Endless happiness...

As always Sondheim's turn of words breaks open the truth, asks the questions and reveals the huge gap in the love manual most humans are operating under.

It brings to mind Sinatra singing How Little It Matters (How Little We Know)...




The clues are everywhere, the journey never ending with love remaining the constant and everything else just the imaginings of the dream which creates the anxieties and pain.

Hope you enjoyed Wednesday's musical theater moment. As Jewish lyricist Yip Harburg once commented, “A song is the pulse of a nation’s heart, a fever chart of its health. Are we at peace? Are we in trouble? Do we feel beautiful? Are we violent? Listen to our songs.” In recognizing the songs you are relating to, you understand your pulse. What songs are you hearing now? and on a different level what song is waiting to be born?
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