Characteristics of a Strong Love Triangle

I have mentioned love triangles on this blog before and characteristics of why I love them. But I decided to talk about them again. Below I will talk about what makes a strong and memorable love triangle.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

Complexity- this is very important. Complexity tends to come from unrequited love. No matter what happens you cannot satisfy all the characters. Complexity also can come from someone else. In Wicked’s love triangle, the complexity actually comes from Fiyero due to the role he plays. There is always conflict in a love triangle due to unrequited love. Unrequited love is heartbreaking and can be filled with loneliness, anger, and other emotions. Like in Wicked’s situation, it is the most complex of all the love triangles I have come across. Complexity also depends on how the love triangle is set up. Every character in Wicked is complex and yes even Fiyero is complex even though it doesn’t seem that way. In Les Mis’, it seems like only Eponine is complex, but Marius is also complex and just like Fiyero, he doesn’t seem complex, but after I read the book, I realized Marius is more complex than he appears to be. So complexity helps make me love a love triangle.

Characters- the characters found in the love triangle can play a role. For example, in Phantom of the Opera, the Phantom makes the love triangle very dark and mysterious and then there is Christine and Raoul, who were childhood sweethearts and have eventually fallen in love. In the love triangle in Les Mis, Eponine’s story revolves around unrequited love and how she responds is wonderful to watch plus Marius and Cosette help bring hope to the tragic story. In Wicked’s, it is dealing with two best friends (Elphaba and Glinda), who have a beautiful relationship and are strong characters. Then there is Fiyero, who throws a gigantic curveball into the equation.

Glinda and Elphaba

Uniqueness- it helps when there is something unique about each love triangle. That is referring to the fact that you don’t want every love triangle to be the same. For instance in Phantom’s love triangle, it is very dark and mysterious, but angelic and beautiful at the same time.

Than there is Les Mis’ love triangle, which is full of hope and light but full of heartbreak and pain. Marius and Cosette help bring light to this tragic tale and they are such a beautiful couple. Eponine is unique for two things: 1) the fact that she is a Thenardier and 2) how she responds to the unrequited love.

Eponine
Marius and Cosette

In Wicked, it is dealing with two best friends, but the most unique thing is the plot twist that happens in act II. In Wicked, Elphaba has unrequited love for Fiyero in act I, but Fiyero throws a big curveball in the equation when he realizes his feelings for Elphaba in act II so you have an unrequited love shift going on.

Songs- the songs help a lot. With Les Mis’ love triangle, you have the gorgeous “A Heart Full of Love”. The unique thing about that song is that during most of the song, it is a duet between Marius and Cosette and towards the end with Eponine joins in, you feel for all three of them. Eponine’s unrequited love song, “On My Own”, allows you to get a glimpse of her life outside of Marius and shows you just how strong her love for Marius is.

In Wicked, the two songs found in the love triangle are “I’m Not That Girl” and “As Long as Your’e Mine”. Elphaba sings the unrequited love song, “I’m Not That Girl” in act I and she does admit in the song that she doesn’t think she is good enough for Fiyero because she is green and she sings the song literally right after realizing that she in falling love with him and she accepts it rather quickly knowing her best friend is in a relationship with him. Than you get to act II and Fiyero breaks up with Glinda realizing he loves Elphaba instead of Glinda. Glinda ends up singing a reprise of “I’m Not That Girl” since she now has unrequited love for Fiyero. “As Long as Your’e Mine” is the love song between Elphaba and Fiyero and it does show that Elphaba and Fiyero have matured and shows that they do love each other. So Wicked is a very complicated and fascinating love triangle.

In Phantom, “All I Ask of You” is such a gorgeous song. It shows just how beautiful Christine and Raoul are as a couple. Phantom ends up singing a reprise of that song and the song becomes heartbreaking.

What to Look For in a Wonderful Musical Plot

The past two days, I talked about what I look for in musical characters. But what exactly is it I am looking for in a musical plot? This one is a bit harder to figure out than what I am looking for in musical characters. Some things I look for in musical plots are actually characteristics I look for in musical characters.

First up on the list is complexity. I am drawn more to complex plots than simple plots due to what they provide. Those feel more real and they are more likely for new things to be discovered as your journey with the musical continues. Whether that is in complex plots like Les Mis or Wicked, I keep on discovering new things about them. I feel like complex plots head directly to complex characters as well. The complex plots have the right amount of conflict for entire sad songs to be in the mix. Conflict plays a big role in the emotions. Complex characters have more things about them and if they have enough conflict, they have a higher chance of expressing negative emotions through song.

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Thinking of complexity, another thing I look for in a musical plot is conflict. Conflict refers directly to complexity. Conflict is literally where a plot is actually formed outside of the characters. Conflict varies in so many ways. There is a point in the amount of conflict where the characters become complex. There is a point in conflict where the show ends up having either serious, dark, or tragic moments within the show.

There is nothing wrong with happy musicals having those type of moments. Without those moments, shows that are actually tragic would literally make no sense in the musical world. Without conflict, there would not even be a plot in a musical. Conflict is a bit difficult to describe as a matter of fact. The amount of conflict has a lot to do with the emotional side of musicals. Conflict is where the negative tend to come from and I want the negative emotions to be a part of the score.

Next up is romance. Yes, I just said I look for romance in a musical. I don’t fully know why I love romance in musicals. I feel like part of it has to due to how often it seems to show up in musicals. I love how most of it is young love. It doesn’t matter if it is in the form of two people or if it happens to be in the form of a love triangle.

My favorite musical couple gets caught up in a love triangle and those characters are Elphaba and Fiyero. Either in middle or high school, I knew that Wicked’s love triangle provides an interesting texture and was fully aware that “I’m Not That Girl” is a sad song, but soon realized it was heartbreaking thanks to “On My Own”.

I think another huge part of why I love romance in musicals is because it translates well to song. The songs tend to be beautiful songs and vary in so many ways. Most of them tend to be slow-paced songs like “Something Good”, “Till There Was You”, “A Heart Full of Love”, “I’m Not That Girl”, “Something to Believe In” and “All I Ask of You”. Some tend to be really strong and powerful such as “On My Own”. The love songs can either be solos, duets, or trios. Some of the solos are either unrequited love or breakup songs.

One trio makes you so confused with the emotions you are feeling in that song, which is “A Heart Full of Love”. For much of the song, I am feeling for Marius and Cosette, which means I am feeling happy for them, but when Eponine joins the picture, I am still feeling wonderful for Marius and Cosette, but feeling heartbroken for Eponine. Its like how in the world can you feel both sides in one song. Due to the nature of that song, it is a huge reason why I love this love triangle.

Another thing I look for has to due with the negative emotions. I don’t want them to exist so much in a musical plot that there isn’t room for the positive emotions to exist. I want the negative emotions to exist in a way that provides you with a positive experience. No musical literally has just negative emotions. That just will never seem to work. Les Mis is the best example of this because it seems like most of the songs and scenes makes you feel negative emotions. But if you look closely, you realize the positive emotions still are existent. It has hope, compassion, forgiveness, joy, uplifting, exciting, and passion in the mix. Les Mis was the best example for this because it constantly makes you feel hurt and seems like it will never make you feel positive emotions, but they are present. It isn’t just a heartbreaking musical, but its also an inspirational musical.

This sounds crazy, but when it comes to a tragic musical, I can be quite particular of what I want from their plots. In my interpretation of musicals, tragic musicals are very rare. I don’t want the negative emotions to feel sort of lost in the picture or feel kind of boring and pointless. The tragic plots really can be hard to fall in love with. For me, I want the tragic musical plots to have things that exist beyond their tragic nature. For Les Mis, it is its underlying spirituality and for Rent, it is its message of acceptance and how to live life. They can be quite tricky, but falling in love with Rent and Les Mis has really helped me see that tragedies have more potential than I once believed. I once thought tragedies were pure sad and that was why I ignored them and told myself I will hate tragedies in high school. But Rent and Les Mis helped me see the light of tragic plots.maxresdefault

All of this leads in one final aspect of what I look for in a musical. Musical plots also have an incredible collection of characters. The characters and their actions, personality, and lives help form the plot. They help you with the emotions so much. Literally, what I just said is true. You have to care about the character’s journeys in order to have a willingness to feel their emotions. Sometimes I might only love like three characters or might love way more than three. Wicked for instance, I only love Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda, but in Les Mis, I love Jean Valjean, Fantine, Gavroche, Eponine, Young Cosette and Enjolras and all the students and in shows like Newsies, I love all the Newsies especially Jack and Crutchie.

What exactly do you look for in a musical plot?

Characteristics I Look For in a Musical Character

There are a wide range of characters that I love in musical theatre. But what are things I tend to look for in a musical character. What makes those characters become favorites. Below is a list of characteristics that I tend to want from a musical character.

  1. Optimistic
  2. Courageous
  3. Relatability/ Emotional connection
  4. Complexity
  5. Loving
  6. Loyal

It seems to me that a good chunk of musical characters that I love tend to be courageous or optimistic. Courageous characters I love include Elphaba, Eponine, Enjolras, Gavroche, the other students of the Friends of the ABC, Belle, and all the Newsies. That is sure a lot of brave characters and from that list, only Elphaba  has been part of my life for quite a long time, which traces back to 2006. My love for those Les Mis characters traces back to 2013 and the Newsies traces back to 2016. Belle does trace back to my childhood, but I had to rediscover her recently since I nearly forgot that I even loved Beauty and the Beast.

Whenever I think of optimistic characters, I always tend to think of Annie first. She may be simple, but still memorable. The students in Les Mis, Young Cosette and the Newsies are hopeful characters.

One important characteristic of musical characters is whether or not you can relate to them or not. But there are some characters I love that I cannot even relate to that well. I can easily relate to Annie, Elphaba, and Belle. I can emotionally connect to characters that I don’t even relate to, which include an amazing set of Les Mis characters, the Newsies, Fiyero, etc. Having those two types of traits makes you care about the characters and makes you want to feel their emotions.

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There are both simple and complex musical characters. Out of both sets, I tend to prefer complex characters. Complex characters that I love are Elphaba, Glinda, Fiyero, Eponine, Jean Valjean, Jack Kelly, and the Beast and they feel more real than the simple characters. These are the kind of characters that are more likely to express the negative emotions through song, which is due to the fact that they tend to have a higher amount of conflict. They tend to be easier to care about. Complexity is a huge part of why I prefer complex characters, but I do love simple characters. My favorite musical character is Elphaba and she is complex, and Wicked was the musical where I started to understand the emotional side and complexity of musicals.

What about the loving characters? Those characters are incredible characters as well. They tend to put others needs before their own. They tend to care about the needs of others and have a big-heart found within them. Loving characters that I love are Elphaba, Eponine, Fantine, Jean Valjean, and Belle. It is crazy not being able to name many loving characters at this moment because so many musicals have characters fall in love.

Even loyalty is an incredible musical character trait to have. Whenever I think of loyal characters, my first thought is Eponine. She stays loyal to Marius despite the love being unrequited. She chooses to be loyal to him instead of her parents. She constantly puts aside her happiness and continues to love him and assist him in anyway she can. Sometimes I feel like loyalty and loving somehow really belong together.

Are there other characteristics that make a musical character wonderful?

Layers of Musicals

One of the most fascinating things about musicals is the many layers that they contain. The layers are part of the characters, plots, and the songs. In fact all three of those go hand in hand with each other.

The plots range from Cats, Singin’ in the Rain, Music Man, Sound of Music, South Pacific, Wicked, Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Rent, and Les Mis. These musicals do reflect that musicals come with many layers. On that list, plots start to become more complex once you reach “Sound of Music”. Not only is the plot strong, but so are the songs as well. I just discovered that sad is part of its score. However, heartbreak is part of Cats, but the thing is it hardly has a plot to begin with.

It is usually the most realistic plots where musical plot becomes strong. Another case is that they are home to excitement, love, joy, sad, and heartbreak as well. Those five emotions are core emotions. If all five exist, then you have quite a strong musical and those are the ones that require the most vulnerability. From shows such as “South Pacific”, “Lion King”, “Phantom”, “Rent”, and “Les Mis”, you have all five of those emotions. But the difference is some of those are happy, while some are sad, but some have gotten stuck in the middle.

The layers from the plots come from the several topics that musicals cover. Those can be elements of light such as hope, compassion, friendship, etc. and elements of dark such as unrequited love, death, abuse, etc.

Even characters can have layers too. Some characters do not develop at all and really don’t have an arc. Some characters just are not that interesting to learn about because the character is way too simple. But even simple characters can still be memorable such as Annie from “Annie”. Favorite characters of mine that have an amazing complexity to them are Elphaba, Galinda(Glinda), Jean Valjean, and Eponine. There is more to them then just one thing. They all battle some kind of strong conflict, which is where their complexity comes from. It also depends on their backgrounds and how others treat them. They all are home to some kind of vulnerability because they all happen to go through some kind of pain and hurt in their lives.

The thickest kind of complexity in a musical has to be the emotions. Each musical has a different emotional world, which is in turn based off the plot and the characters. Some musicals have you feel only positive emotions. You want those musicals in the mix and those are the plots that have the most light-hearted plots, and the simple characters. By the time the score is both positive and negative, the plot become stronger because those shows have more humanity to them, which in turn is more realistic.

Each musical is home to certain emotions they will always have. Those are known as core emotions. Depending on how the actor portrays the character, certain emotions show up in a character that might not show up all the time. Emotions I have already come across are excitement, uplifting, joy, love, hope, compassion, forgiveness, passion, haunting, fear, anger, frustration, sad, heartbreak, loneliness, uncomfortable, desperation, depressing, devastation, guilt, and others that I know I felt, but can’t think of the right emotion yet.

Even an emotion such as heartbreak can be layered. An example of that belong to the songs “I’m Not that Girl” and “On My Own”, two songs about unrequited love, but I am aware of their emotional differences between them. They both have heartbreak and loneliness, but still are quite different in terms of emotions along with layers. By understanding the two characters who sing those, I was able to understand that “On My Own” is the sadder song.

Due to the complexity and simplicity of musicals, it is so hard to explain what they are capable of. I still cannot describe the layers of the different emotions musicals portray. Whenever I see a new musical, I am always hoping I will feel the positive and negative emotion, but I am still perfectly fine if the negative emotions are a no show. That is because I want the right balance to exist. There is a reason why heartbreak is not a part of every single musical and that is due to how fragile that emotion is. Heartbreak is a beautiful emotion, but filled with so much pain and hurt and you don’t want to experience such a fragile emotion in every single musical. So it is important that some musicals are simpler then others.

The links below are blog posts I wrote, which reflect back to this post. One talks more about the emotional impact. The other talk more about the two characters who sing “On My Own” and “I’m Not Girl”

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/emotional-world-of-musicals/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/my-love-for-elphaba/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/eponine/

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