And the curtains open…
I swear, my life lately has felt like a very strange sort of play. I had my exits and entrances, but even though there were pauses between my scenes, there was so much going on back stage that it just felt like one more scene. Do you ever have those times? It’s not that they’re busy, it’s just that they’re so ridiculously improbable that it’s hard to believe it’s not some big universal prank. I guess that’s my excuse for not having posted any kind of update in so long.
You know, the first time I even heard of Phantom of the Opera was when it became a movie starring Gerard Butler. I saw it in theatres and was absolutely smitten by the grand music and the tragic story of the Phantom.
I’ve seen the stage production since then and while it was duly impressive, there is just something about seeing the movie that made it more… personal. You can’t see the actors’ facial expressions from way up in the balcony seats. You can get a close up to Gerard Butler’s runny nose as he weeps when Christine chooses Raoul. You can’t create a stage set detailed enough because of the necessary change-overs throughout the show. My favorite place from the movie was the little dark alcove that opened onto the domed ceiling of the opera house. It was where the Phantom delivered his line, “Did I not instruct that Box 5 was to be kept empty?” in a godly boom.
After the movie I had about a dozen scenarios in my head about how it could have been made right, how the Phantom could have ended up not alone. There was everything from Raoul turning out to be a gambler and cheat, to another dancer having been Phantom’s friend all along, to him having grown up in an actual home, rather than the opera house. There was even one that involved people (including the actor) being sucked into the movie and “living” the times inbetween the movie scenes. That one was fun to think up.
In essence, a handful of people watching the movie at the same time (including the actor) got transported into the movie and became part of the plot, but only off camera. Everything around them was real, they were real, but were not allowed to interfere with the on-camera plot. Those who tried to appear on camera met with disasters. Off camera, in those times between the actual scenes, they could interact with the characters. The actor and a woman got stuck in Phantom’s lair and spoke to him when he wasn’t meddling with the others. The actor didn’t take that well. The woman didn’t, either, but for different reasons. She tried to warn the Phantom about Christine but he would not listen. And the actor tried to get the woman to stop it but she couldn’t leave it alone. In the end, both Phantom and the actor softened toward the woman, but Phantom would not be swayed from Christine.
Towards the end, it became imperative for the two real people left (the actor and the woman) to get out because they figured out that once the credits started rolling, they’d be stuck there forever. So when the Phantom’s singing, “Go now and leave me,” he’s speaking to those two. And with them gone, he really does have no one left, and so the mirror smashing commences.
The point of all this? Does there really need to be one? 😉