sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
sophia_sol ([personal profile] sophia_sol) wrote2017-06-04 08:54 pm

Guys & Dolls

Friday night I saw a production of Guys & Dolls. This is apparently a well-regarded and award-winning musical, and Stratford did a good job with it, is not the sort of musical calculated to win my affections. Its only appeal as far as I can see is just the spectacle. I mean there is a story but it's predictable (and sexist).

And it's remarkably cynical about love for a romantic comedy: for men, marriage is a ball-and-chain to be avoided at all costs; and for women, the guys they love are gonna be terrible so the only thing to do is marry them asap and then do your best to change them. Not exactly charming. I was rather wishing that Sarah and Adelaide would get together and leave their no-good love-interests in the dust.

The dancing was excellent though! I particularly enjoyed watching all the crapshooters dancing together. And the actors were good, particularly the ones playing Sky and Sarah. And some of the songs were fun.

But like: I want romantic comedy musicals to be charming, and I just wasn't feeling that with this one at all. And it's clear to me that the problem is with the musical itself, not with what Stratford does with it. Sigh. Why'd they choose to do this musical? Why do other people like it?

EXCEPT I keep thinking about Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown? Because like: on first glance they seem utterly unsuited for each other, Sky a dedicated gambler and ne'er-do-well, and Sarah a dedicated Salvation Army mission worker. But when Sky takes Sarah to Cuba and gets a few alcoholic drinks into her (....which was creepy, don't get me wrong, the way he gave her an alcoholic drink without letting her know it's alcoholic), Sarah becomes the sort of person who dances with strangers and gleefully throws punches in a bar fight. And the thing about alcohol is that it doesn't make you a different person, it just lowers your inhibitions a bunch.

So what if Sarah the sort of person who actually deeply longs for the freedom to be kind of bad, but locks it up inside herself because it's Not Right according to how she was raised? If so then the ending (with Sky joining the Salvation Army) is all wrong for them - for their relationship to work out, I think it would actually go much better if Sarah joined Sky's world instead of the other way around.
skygiants: Cha Song Joo and Lee Su Hyun from Capital Scandal in a swing pose (got that swing)

[personal profile] skygiants 2017-06-05 01:33 am (UTC)(link)
I grew up on this musical and therefore love it despite its many flaws, but I am incapable these days of entering into any Guys and Dolls conversation without just quietly chanting 'LESBIAN SKY MASTERSON' to myself.
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2017-06-05 01:49 am (UTC)(link)
Have you read [personal profile] cahn's Sarah/Sky fic? It digs into the kinds of problems likely to be posed by them actually being married and having to
permanently live with their different worldviews:

And it gets Damon Runyon voice perfectly, which for me is essential in Guys and Dolls fic.
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2017-06-21 12:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I feel like Adam Gopnik describes the voice well:

"Here are all the elements of Runyon’s voice: the perpetual present tense, the world without conditional moods, the stilted, over-elaborate attempt at precision, and, above all, a way of life and a social class evoked purely through vernacular. And then there is the unchanging, perpetually nameless and anxious-eager Narrator, with his warily formal diction and his cautious good manners—a born exquisitist telling stories at Lindy’s, trying to define a chalk-eater while using the mild word “discouraged.”"