12 April 2018

miss saigon: all the things i love about theatre in one play

most of you might know broadway/west-end from hits musical such as chicago, wicked, even book of mormon. well, even if you've never seen the play directly (heck most of them are routinely played only in new york or london), you must at the very least recognize the songs. but have you ever heard of miss saigon? no? i won't blame you for that.

so i know miss saigon firstly from my dad. he mentioned it somehow in some period of my life, i'm not sure when or where. he works in theatre biz, that's how he knows at the first place. then i was very lucky to have a chance to go visit new york and see broadway production for the very first time of my life last december *yaay! then, of course, i didn't go allll the way to new york only to see one play.

first play i saw, classic: chicago. also, because todrick was in it *YEAYY. turns out it was.... meh. it's ok, but not 'great.' but still, it was a first time anyway so i was wayyy excited, especially when todrick came on stage *AAAGGGHH

then the second day i was comparing one brochure to another. i would love to see book of mormon, but andrew ranells' not in it anymore, and they've got book of mormon in london. wicked, les mis, phantom, no. aladdin, big no. they're all playing in london anyways. so which one?!

then i saw that there were two plays that were closing soon: cats and miss saigon. i remember nino, my brother. he really loved cats the musical when we were little while it didn't impress me much. i didn't remember what it was all about, i only remember people in cats costume dancing and singing, and of course, the song memory. miss saigon, of course i remember my father. he really loved that play, and i have never heard anything, like literally anything about it. not even in glee lol.

so i took a bold choice: i'm seeing miss saigon!


one of my favourite scene, aaaagghh!

chicago is nothing, NOTHINGG compared to this play. the set, the story, the talent, EVERYTHING. the ticket was even cheaper and i've got a lot better seating than i expected! i was ALMOST late but thankfully i wasn't!

the play took place during the vietnam war. it was opened with chaos in a village and a girl in white dress got 'saved' by someone who calls himself the 'engineer' - who is apparently a pimp. the song 'heat in saigon' broke the chaos feel perfectly, oh-my-god. the cue was perfect, every light was on in the exact precision with the music, and the chaos turned into.. well.. another form of chaos in a brothel, lol.

then came this confused american soldier named chris. his friend 'bought' this girl in the white dress for him, and the drama starts. it was.... pretty boring about the first hour after the 'magical' opening. but then entered my favourite scene: the remembrance day of the unification of vietnam. the setting was soooo good. the feel, the music, everything. the audience were brought back to a strong 'communism-feel like music' with amazing martial arts choreography, even a liong, the chinese dragon act!

and the story goes.. it was not a happy ending and dreamy story as it was pictured in the beginning. it was totally a tragedy. and the more i think about it, the more i learn about the facts that really was happening during and after the vietnam war, which could be elaborated into few points:

  1. young soldiers were involuntarily drafted to the war. to a place they never even knew existed.
  2. the US retreated. the soldiers were sent back home.
  3. these young soldiers left the young girls they met during their 'placement' with children.
  4. the children got harassed after the war ended. children with 'western' complexion were seen as traitor, bringing bad luck, etc. as most of them were conceived to be born from a soldier and a prostitute. while their only 'sin' was being born.
  5. america then made an agreement, that people with these complexion are allowed to have a US citizenship. this, again, brought chaos as people were trying hard to leave vietnam for a US citizenship. some of them tried to be someone else's 'family.' hence, believe it or not, there was a time when flights full with kids and babies were flown to the USA.
  6. the soldiers? they experienced PTSD, anxiety, etc. and not treated that well either back home. they were seen as 'peace offender' from the people who were against the war, and as a 'failure' from the people who were rooting for the war.

all these complexities were beautifully captured in this 2 hours and 40 minutes play. this is a play of no 'happy-go-lucky' songs, they were all depressing in some way. even the 'happy' song! oh-my-god i couldn't get over it, i just couldn't!

and the talent, oh-my-god, the talent. eva noblezada and allistair brammer was per-fect. per-fect. jon jon briones, of course, pictured the engineer really well as it really WAS his key role in broadway. rachelle ann go, too, left a marvellous feel even for a slight 8-10 minutes in the beginning of the play. it-was-awesome.

then the play came to the UK! and i found someone who i could watch plays with: imammanda! after some convincing he agreed to watch miss saigon with me in manchester AND HE CRIED. HE LITERALLY CRIED, like who didn't?! and he loveddd it. and by the second time i watched it, even with different casts, i was again moved. and i learned even more, and i started to do a litte 'research' about this play, and found even more intriguing facts.

well, shortly. you've got the whole story, which was based on an actual event in history. you've got beautiful music. you've got the talent. and you've got...... i would really love to tell you of the whole plot, but simply it was a love triangle, and everyone, i repeat, everyone got hurt. in the most different way possible. the first time i saw it i thought only two of them were hurt, but by the second time, i realized the third one... also got hurt, and the only 'sin' of this person was being there.

simply, when you have miss saigon, come see it! i would really, really hate it if it needed to be closed down. really.

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