Florida State Thespians Conference, Day 1

  • Apr. 19th, 2007 at 9:38 PM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (slash)
Tonight, at the opening ceremony for Florida Thespians State whatever, there was a helpful video about theater etiquette. It starred E (for Etiquette), who slowly killed off various musical theater characters for being rude in the theater. Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett got it for eating (pies), Mama or whatever from Chicago for talking on the phone, stuff like that. Naturally, the Phantom made an appearance, though I don't remember what his crime was; I do know he was accompanied by the ALW fanfare.
 
Now, I know this is a theater conference, and that the Phantom is known to millions of Americans. I also remember that I am no different from anyone else in this regard. But I get this wrenching pang of possessiveness when he's referenced anywhere. Like entitlement. I have this horrible flash of “no one in this auditorium knows what I know,” or maybe, “no one knows him like I do.” Which is both stupid and superior. He doesn't belong to me, and the very fact that I can write “he doesn't belong to me” indicates that I'm not entirely rational to begin with.
 
When I heard those stupid arpeggios and watched a student in a half-mask jump out of a door, I felt offended because something I cared about, or had an investment in, was being misrepresented. I could go at this from a few different places: 1) In what way does a character's presence in a student video “misrepresent” him, no matter what he's doing; or 2) Why do I care at all?
 
I was, at one time (now ten years or more in the past), a fanatic Phantom fan. It started with the musical, yes, and I had my Michael Crawford period and my Anthony Warlow period and my Mary-Sue fanfic and my theater wanna-be half-dreams. I suspect that the irritating feeling described above is a remnant of this fanatic fangirl attitude. It is suspiciously like the behavior I see in young fangirls today; the “protect MY character” attitude which dictates which character(istics) is the true nature of the beast. And while it's true enough that the Phantom I “know” is not the one I saw on screen tonight, there's a big difference between “my favorite Phantom is the one in my head” and “thou shalt have no other Phantoms before mine.” That difference is perhaps sanity. Or at least sense.
 
I find the fact that I can still feel this way, even if it's surrounded by rational analysis and/or dismissal, interesting. I'm not the same person, in so many ways that it seems absurd, now, that I'm admitting to this. It embarrasses me, not only right now but retroactive to the past-me I feel this is coming from. Maybe what I can't admit is that I haven't changed that much; that I can go one with life and look pretty normal but underneath I'm still this obsessive, elitist, irrational being. Who has enough stake in a fictional character she doesn't think is all that important (in a literary sense) that she can not only have feelings of betrayal at his cavalier use but spend some considerable time thinking about why that is.

Because in the end, the fact that I'm writing this says to me that I haven't changed at all. That I'm still a fangirl, and a snobby one at that. At any moment, I could turn to one of the students I'm chaperoning, or one of the other nominal adults, and say something that would betray my years of personal investment in a show I don't even like.
 
Then again, maybe that person I was wasn't so bad. Come to think of it, my concerns are very similar; I was a Doctor Who freak by 4th grade, and hey, I'm still watching. And re-watching the Doctors of my youth. Doesn't my consistent interest in something indicate its value, at least on a personal scale? And what other scale should I use?
 
Have I actually just made myself infinitely more pathetic by spending this much time analyzing it than if I'd just noted the feeling and let it go?
 
Probably. But that would mean I'm no longer an obsessive elitist, and that would be inconsistent.

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