Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Reenacting and Regarding Hamilton

As anyone who has viewed social media or awards shows or artistic news of any sort these days knows, Hamilton the musical is pretty much the top nerdmania you can feast upon of late. I myself became obsessed with it early last fall and really couldn't let go of the undying need to attain tickets that are pretty much the Holy Grail of the theatre world. That is to say, it is really easy to buy resell tickets through reputable sites, but only if you have approximately one million-ish dollars. Because I was hellbent and fanatical, I decided that I needed to make it happen when I would be home in the States for my friend's wedding. Because my younger sister is even more obsessed than I, she was the lucky winner of my second ticket. Because we are both ridiculous theatre children who thrive on attention and absurdity, we decided that a trip to good ole Weehawken, NJ was well in order as a first act to our day of performance.

Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr engaged in their famous and fatal duel on a cliff overlooking the Hudson River. Nowadays, there is a lovely walkway adorned with a monument to honor the scene. The weather was spectacular thank goodness, though the drive was painful and trafficky, but at long last Sister and I made it to our destination. Lucky for me, my dear sibling still works in a regional theatre so she was able to attain some fantastically unrealistic wooden gun replicas. She had also gotten a set of Hamilton-Burr shot glasses for Christmas. And as my young theatrically-inclined nephew had a stash of pirate hats under his bed, we basically had all we needed to appropriately reenact the famous duel.

We took our celebratory shots of whiskey, donned our costumes, and were ready to do justice to the quotes we so honored... "I'm not throwing away my shot!"... "He aims his pistol at the sky!"... "Aaaah, aaaah, aaaah." Luckily for us, an obliging couple (more so the gentleman, as the lady seemed thoroughly unamused by our antics) walked past at a key moment and asked if we needed them to take a picture of us. Duh. Sister was Burr. I, of course, was Hamilton... ultimately lying limply on the dirty sidewalks of New Jersey because "everything is legal in New Jersey."

When we set off for our exhausting trip back to Brooklyn, I felt a complete sense of contentment via our ridiculousness. Now to be clear, I do not promote guns, gun violence, duels, or pretty much anything to do with killing people on any real level. I do, however, promote reenactments and being utterly ridiculous with insanely over the top props. 

And so when the time came to actually go see the show on Broadway that evening, I was blissful. We met one of my dear friends from college beforehand, as her husband had so wonderfully bought her a ticket for the same night as us as a Mother's Day gift. We were all seated up in the rear balcony but I have to say that there was not one single person in the audience who didn't seem to be aware of how lucky they were to be there, no matter where they sat. I had also chosen seats overlooking the doorway rather than other people's heads, so had a straight shot of the stage down below. Because I knew the soundtrack oh so well, there were very few surprises in store for me, but the energy of the audience, the talent and vibrancy of the actors, the poignancy of the lyrics, the festivity of the music, and the technical marvels of the stage were just infectious. We were fortunate enough to see all of the original cast (sans Jonathan Groff) and it was worth every penny.

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