Saturday, December 08, 2007

Travelogue: The Phantom of the Opera

(Many people thought that the last edition was the end of the US travelogue – misled by the title; that was just the end of the bus adventure).

The first room we entered was the memorabilia area along with a mini bar. We took a snap before proceeding to the seating area. Just as we stepped off the stairs a lady employee looked at our ticket and said, “Ah; I don’t need to move. This is your seat”. Our seats were in the rightmost corner but it was in a much better position than what we expected; the stage was clearly visible and there was no visual obstruction.

We browsed through the booklet to get an idea of the story; I had already read a few reviews about this musical on the Net. I was able to follow most of the dialogues to start with – the dialogues spoken by the men were clear but those by the female cast were of much higher frequency and harder to comprehend fully. Basically in musicals, most of the dialogues are delivered through songs and poems; you will have very little of the drama style dialogues. As we neared the end of the first half it was harder to grasp words delivered at such high frequencies. But from the context you could make out most of it. The story was simple; centered on an opera house where there is supposed to be a phantom – whose voice alone is heard. He takes liking to one of the girls working in the opera house whom he has trained by giving lessons through the walls. He insists that she should be the lead voice in the opera’s performance (else he would wreck havoc in the opera house). She impresses the audience with her first performance. And then the love triangle begins – there is another guy who likes her; our phantom grows jealous and appears before her; he takes her to his place underground – all along his face is covered by a mask. The heroine manages to remove the mask and sees the most hideous face; this enrages the phantom who finally releases the heroine. She is in fear and fright when she returns back.
After a few more incidents (and some humor along the way), the end of the first half is brought about by a huge chandelier sent crashing by the Phantom when he is enraged with the heroine moving towards the hero.

The second half was about hero and heroine’s engagement, the phantom warning against destruction and demanding that the opera perform his composition with heroine in the lead role. Our hero contrives a plan to capture the phantom and as expected the final scene has the phantom, hero and heroine in the phantom’s lair. But here the phantom realizes that the heroine does have sympathy for him and lets the couple escape. A mob arrives but by then the phantom has disappeared save for his mask.

Now that I think over the story I wonder if the film “Kadhal Kondaein” was to some extent inspired by this musical.

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