Unloving/Tragic Families- All Fiction

Well, in fiction I have across a number of families. They have come into two categories: loving and unloving (however sometimes tragedy can happen in a loving family). This time, what if I focused on those type of families. What comes to mind first really shows the relationship between characters and the author?

Sarge’s Family

Sarge is the first one that comes to mind. After all, I created Sarge. I know of his abusive and tragic life. At only four, his mother left him. All Sarge has left now is his abusive and cruel father. That abuse started at age four all the way to thirteen—-then his father left him. While this abuse was happening, Sarge’s father was still the leader of the Toads. Sarge was next in line—so his father was expecting him to lead at only thirteen. The abuse Sarge was facing started with words alone and later it got physical (physical to the point where he got permanent scars). His Uncle (Marge’s father) really wanted to help his nephew, but he cared a lot more about his daughter. Even Marge’s father did not know what was going on with his brother. As a result to Sarge’s abuse, Marge was not even allowed to see her uncle to keep her safe. Another result belongs to Sarge: due to the abuse he faced, he became conflicted, jealous, confused, more lonely than he realized, and all of that made him become the bully he is especially towards his cousin. He couldn’t even see kindness, love, or compassion growing up.

Aurora and Jasmine

While these fraternal twins may have been born with a loving family, tragedy struck. They were born in 1998. They were born into an artsy family who also were big fans of Disney. They always did crafts with their family. Then one day, when their parents and them got into a car wreck, Aurora and Jasmine were the only ones that lived. All they have now is each other- they were best friends before the car crash. Jasmine was more optimistic and felt furiously protective towards Aurora. Now that they are orphans, a lot is gone. All Aurora has, outside of her sister, is the final doll her mom and sister made. However in the car crash, a craft bag with supplies to make the dolls, was saved by Jasmine. This did affect Aurora a lot more- Jasmine knew she had to be with Aurora in the hospital, but many staff did not believe. However, there was only one nurse who did- “Nichole” is my fill-in-name now: she eventually convinced the other staff that Aurora desperately needed her sister.

Emily, Rosie, Paige, and Mollie

Well, while I still don’t know how their parents died, I know some facts about them. Emily and Rosie were born in 1999- the youngest of all the Greatest Discovery characters. Mollie and Paige were actually born in 1997. All the GB girls’ ages had to line up either on or after October 30th, 2003- it had to somehow connect to that date. SPOILERS FOR ALL THE ORPHANS: Greatest Discovery has two meanings in that that story: first it was a scavenger hunt T.V. (which helped all six girls in some way)- it was their caregiver that helped them get on the show. Well, at the end of the novel—-Emily and Rose were 10, Aurora and Jasmine are 11, and Paige and Mollie were 12. The 2nd meaning of GB has to do with the grand prize was: all of them did get adopted, and they ended up seeing Wicked on Broadway. In Aurora/Jasmine’s case, they got adopted by their favorite nurse, who is “Nichole”.

Thenardiers

Now, I can go to the already created unloved families. The complete opposite did happen to Gavroche and Eponine. As in, I have stronger empathy and personal relationship to the characters I created- after all, I know them better than the Thenardier Family. That is where the difference lies- Victor Hugo created the Thenardiers. While I know that the Thenardiers horribly abused, neglected, and showed no love to their children, Gavroche and Eponine had one good thing happen in their life. Gavroche was taken in by the students and with Eponine, it was Marius. Eponine had to deal with horrible abuse, being raised by criminals, unkindness and fell into extreme poverty. Her life seemed like there would be no light. Marius was the only one who treated her kindly leading her to fall in love with him despite the fact that it became unrequited: the love she had for him was so deep that she would do anything for him no matter the cost.

So, while I actually developed such a deep bond with Eponine, it is not her family that comes first in mind. I know a lot about Eponine- the abuse, the poverty, the unkindness, and the unrequited love. I even know just how neglected, unloved, and lonely she became. But I did not create Eponine- that is where the difference lies. She is actually my favorite character in the love triangle, but that does not stop me from loving Marius and Cosette as a couple. I just wouldn’t have fallen in love with Eponine if her horrible living conditions and unrequited love did not exist. Due to her tragic life, I loved her fate: “A Little Fall of Rain”- she sacrificed her life for Marius. It showed Eponine happy for once and showed how much compassion Marius was capable of, but at the same time it showed how much she meant to him: after all he was worried and devastated. Even the ending shows that Marius knew she lived a tough life: “her name was Eponine, her life was cold and dark, yet unafraid”- those lyrics are how I knew Marius was aware she lived a tough life, but also knew how brave she was.

This does might sound odd to some people (but obsessed Les Mis fans might understand): all it took was an entire year for me to understand who Eponine was- from 2013 to 2014, I was spending time trying to figure out who she was due to not knowing why I had this emotional connection and strong love came from. Only saw two Eponine actresses in that time frame- Samantha Barks and Kayla Ferguson. While it was three experiences with Les Mis- the film, Central Piedmont Community College, and 25th concert- two actresses. There is a reason why my favorite Eponine is Samantha Barks: she was most responsible for my love for the character and standout in the film and 25th concert. In addition, she was my first making it hard for other actresses to be better. No matter how close they get to being pretty much just as good, my opinion stays the same. While I don’t know why I gave the film a 2nd chance, Eponine was one of the first characters I emotionally bonded to. I believe the first songs I began to start being an emotional wreck were “I Dreamed a Dream” and “A Little Fall of Rain”- think that’s true but don’t fully remember.

Elphaba’s Family

Another example of a broken family. This time, I am exploring Elphaba’s family-but not quite as much as Eponine’s parents. That is all because Eponine’s parents played a huger role in Les Mis then the role Elphaba’s parents had. Elphaba is the musical character I have the most personal and relatable with- she is my favorite musical character. In Elphaba’s case, her father hated her for being born “green” while putting her disabled younger sister on a pedestal. Elphaba was fiercely protective of Nessa. The only characters who really accepted Elphaba for who she is were Glinda and Fiyero. Let me go next: it might explain something.

DON’T CONTINUE: SPOILERS AHEAD

For whatever reason, I think Elphaba was responsible for my love for Eponine: sounds strange, but look at what’s in common: broken family, taken advantage of: with Elphaba the Wizard and with Eponine her family, and the last thing in common is unrequited love. In Elphaba’s situation, she somehow ended up with Fiyero making the unrequited love shift to Glinda. That love triangle actually shows Elphaba and Glinda’s loyalty to each other: they don’t let Fiyero get in the way: they don’t try to steal him away when they have the unrequited love. See what I mean. Like Elphaba, I am smart, unique, have a big heart and stay true to myself. There is a lot of Elphaba I have in common but at same time have differences. I think Elphaba might be the very reason why I was able to understand both emotions, complexity and emotional connection starting in middle school. I think that was why all four core emotions were at the forefront: excitement, love, joy, and sad. Coincidentally, “On My Own” was key for “I’m Not That Girl” to become heartbreaking. It took over seven years for “I’m Not That Girl” to change from being sad to heartbreaking, but took a year for “On my Own” to change from being sad to heartbreaking.

My favorite Elphaba, Mary Kate Morrissey (standby), actually was the most taken off guard I have been in a musical. She was my 4th- she had everything I already knew about Elphaba, then the way she changed her voice from starting out innocent and then shifting to more mature, her chemistry with both Amanda Jane Copper (Glinda), and Ashley Parker Angel (Fiyero), and for the first time, an emotionless song ended up having emotions. That would be “No Good Deed”- it was the only time frustration, fear, and anger struck: in a way that they would actually stick. This production had my favorite trio, and individually all three were my favorite in those characters.

Conclusion

So, there is a HUGE difference between the characters that already were created versus your own. So, despite my strong bond with Elphaba and Eponine, I don’t think of their families first. It actually belonged to Sarge and my orphans. While the six orphans were born to a loving family, their family eventually became tragic. Sarge was the only one who has an unloving family: it was only found in his extended family where there was a loving family: his uncle and cousin both loved Sarge: his uncle loved him and so did Marge (I believe deep down despite being his easiest target). As an author- we know the MOST about them. No matter how much we know about musical characters, we will always know MORE about the ones we created. After all, we strongly strongly personally know our characters: they in some ways are like your own children. You know pretty much everything. See while I know a lot about Eponine and Elphaba, I know A LOT more about Sarge and the six orphans due to creating them in the first place.

Well, what unloving and tragic families come to mind (that includes the ones we created)? Understand the difference?

Complexity of a Love Triangle

There was a time where I did not even know about love triangles in musicals. It was only couples- there was not a third wing. One musical would make me pick up on love triangles, and that musical was Wicked. It is between Elphaba x Fiyero x Glinda. It actually adds an incredible texture to the musical and actually , in my opinion, strengthens the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda.

MAJOR SPOILERS:

As with love triangles, there is always a couple and the third person has to put up with unrequited love. That is what tends to happen. In Wicked, Fiyero arrives and Elphaba can’t stand him. So it kinda of seems as if it will just be Fiyero x Glinda as a couple: we think they will stay together for the rest of the musical. A few months later- I think- something changes in him. He begins to soften up a bit and in class after a new teacher arrives with a scared lion cub in a cage, Elphaba is furious and accidentally casts a spell on the entire class, which for some strange reason does NOT affect Fiyero.

The Lion Cub Scene is very important on BOTH Elphaba and Fiyero. You actually realize that Elphaba has started to fall in love with Fiyero: now we officially have a love triangle. But there’s more- look closely at the way the two are interacting with each other: there is a strong connection and they are playfully sort of teasing each other- not as in being friends-as in a little bit more. It almost seems as if Fiyero has a crush on Elphaba. At this point, he still deep down doesn’t seem to be aware; Elphaba can’t pick up on this either. Ever since- he still can’t stop thinking about the Lion Cub incident- could Fiyero be falling in love with Elphaba?

Back to the Lion Cub Scene itself at the end- when Fiyero asks her, why the spell did not affect him, she was not able to answer. I actually do not think she was going to anyways because of Glinda’s relationship to Fiyero. She was trying to not steal him away from Glinda- she would not let a boy get in way. So- that is a strong trait in a friendship- loyalty. You really have gotten convinced that it will stay Glinda x Fiyero and that Elphaba will have the unrequited love from start to finish. Elphaba did get the entire unrequited love song, “I’m Not That Girl”- during that song, she found out just a few moments earlier that she had feelings for him and she still had innocence so that song can’t be vulnerable to the point of that innocence being lost- knowing the result of the love triangle can make feeling the emotions of unrequited love a bit harder to feel.

Lion Cub Scene- Fiyero and Elphaba
Lion Cub Scene

Well- so act II. Will things stay the same? Do we still have the same couple or will there we some switch? Fiyero listened to all of the rumors spread about Elphaba. While listening, he realized something: he actually loves Elphaba, not Glinda. So—–now we have an unrequited love shift going on. He is going to leave Glinda for Elphaba. Here is why you had to pay close attention to scenes such as the Lion Cub Scene- there were hints that maybe something was going on. Of course, Glinda was hurt, but like Elphaba—-she was NOT going to take Fiyero away: so these two best friends would never let a boy get in way of their friendship: it shows through how they both respond to the unrequited love. It is kinda of more difficult to feel the emotions for Glinda because she gets the shortened reprise of “I’m Not That Girl”.

Elphaba and Fiyero is a strong and wonderful couple. Their song, “As Long as Your’e Mine” is mystical and mature. These two showed their love for each other after the song. They ended up protecting one another- Fiyero literally told the guards to “Let the Green Girl Go”, which could possibly cause him to be tortured and Elphaba was constantly trying spell after spell to save him. They are probably my favorite couple- they are what I would call the unexpected couple. Saying they are a couple is literally a spoiler in itself.

As Long As Your'e Mine- Fiyero and Glinda
Fiyero and Elphaba

It constantly can make you ask yourself questions. You think you have it all figured out, then you realize you still can find more. It has the dreaded WHY question- the WHY as in why the switch happened- at least, it is more clear now. I am glad that “I’m Not That Girl” became the song it became- it used to be just a sad song, but later reached heartbreaking: as a a matter of fact, that song was one of the first songs I realized was sad to begin with.

The love triangle in Wicked is my favorite because it is 1)the first one I emotionally bonded with and 2) the level of complexity it has- the complexity comes from three complex characters, the development of the love triangle, and how it connects to the main storyline.

Another Look at Fiyero

One character that is very hard to get to know in Wicked is Fiyero, a Winkie Prince. He is more complex than he seems to be. He might seem simple on the surface, but in reality that is not the case- I know this from seeing Wicked four times and being around Wicked for thirteen years. PROCEED, BUT MAJOR SPOILERS:

He truly is a jerk when you first meet him. He is so annoying, and this bugs Elphaba. He did knock her over along with her school supplies- you do not think anything will happen between the two of them. He literally has been kicked out of several schools. He does not care about school one bit and cares more about the fun. In the beginning- it is Glinda and Fiyero. He organizes a school dance, and this is actually the moment when Elphaba and Glinda first bond and become friends.

Dancing Through Life- Fiyero (Wicked)
Fiyero

The Lion Cub Scene, I believe, happened a few months later. He actually has softened up a bit. Elphaba recently cast a spell on an entire classroom after seeing a scared lion cub in a cage. Fiyero is trying to figure out why that spell did not affect him. The Lion Cub Scene is when the love triangle between Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda truly begins- it actually does some foreshadowing for Fiyero’s decision in act II. Based on the way that Fiyero and Elphaba are interacting shows that Fiyero does have a crush on Elphaba, but deep down does not seem fully aware of it. It is this scene when Elphaba comes to the conclusion that she, in fact, is falling in love with Fiyero, which leads to “I’m Not That Girl”. Elphaba actually made up her mind not to steal Fiyero away from her best friend- that is how strong their friendship is- they will not let a boy get in the way.

Little does Elphaba know what will happen in act II. She will end up with Fiyero, and her best friend will get the unrequited love she faced in act I. The Lion Cub Scene was one clue that pointed to that. Another scene that showed that Fiyero had a crush on Elphaba was before she left for the Emerald City- Fiyero could not stop thinking about the Lion Cub Incident.

“Thank Goodness” was truly the moment when Fiyero picked up on his love for Elphaba he was blind to. He was upset about the rumors spread about Elphaba, and could not believe Glinda was not doing anything to prevent that (Glinda was Elphaba’s best friend after all). Glinda did not like it either, but Fiyero could believe she was supporting all of that. Fiyero automatically left to go looking for Elphaba to confess his love for her.

Fiyero went from being a jerk to softening up to becoming this courageous and mature young man. When he found Elphaba, she was able to realize that he did love her. They both ran out to confess their love for each other (“As Long as Your’e Mine”-my favorite Fiyero costume is what he is wearing in this number). Both protected each other from this number on- when Elphaba was about to get arrested- Fiyero arrived and told others to “Let her Go”, and as an attempt to protect him from getting hurt, Elphaba tried spell after spell. Their relationship is so unexpected- considering the fact that 1) Elphaba did not like him in the beginning and 2) Elphaba had unrequited love for him in the beginning.

Fiyero and Elphaba- "As Long as Your'e Mine" (Wicked)
Fiyero and Elphaba

Here’s what I believe- I think the love triangle in Wicked develops and matures in the same way the characters do.

Non-Romantic Duets in Musical Theatre

When people think of duets in musicals, they think of romance duets. However, there are duets that do not fall under romance. Some are dealing with friendship; some with death; some with family and some between the protagonist and antagonist. This post will be talking about the non-romance numbers. THERE MIGHT BE MAJOR SPOILERS.

For Good

  • The first duet dealing with friendship that comes to mind is Wicked. For Good is the most emotional song in Wicked. It is a bittersweet song because it will be the last time Elphaba and Glinda will see each other, but at the same time they will be able to say what they meant to each other.
Elphaba and Glinda in Wicked- For Good
For Good

Santa Fe (Prologue)

  • This is another friendship duet. This time it is between Jack Kelly and Crutchie. Jack is leader of the Newsies. The two of them have a special bond. Jack cares a lot about his brothers especially for Crutchie. Crutchie may be the most vulnerable of the Newsies, but he has a wonderful spirit and optimism.
Santa Fe (Prologue)- Jack Kelly and Crutchie in Newsies
Santa Fe (Prologue)

What You Own

  • This is kinda a friendship duet. That is because it is between Mark and Roger, two best friends. Both are them did end up having an epiphany in this song. Roger has figured what his song will be and Mark realized what kinda of film he wanted to make. So in many ways, this was a friendship duet.

A Little Fall of Rain

  • Here is a type of song that did shock me in the world of musical: I once believed that a musical song wouldn’t happen during a death. Turns out I was so wrong. This is between Eponine and Marius. For some people, they might call it a romantic number: not for me. Right before the song, Eponine sacrificed her life for him out of love for him. When Marius discovered she was dying, he was devastated; but decided to stay with her- he ended up showing her comfort to the end. This is a bittersweet song- you have to understand Eponine to understand why. This is literally the happiest moment of her life: she is with Marius, that is all that truly matter even though he never loved her. It does have both friendship and death when it comes to this duet.
"A Little Fall of Rain" from the movie- Samantha Barks as Eponine and Eddie Redmayne as Marius
A Little Fall of Rain

Come to Me

  • Once again, another death duet. This is the first death that happens in Les Mis. It happens to Fantine, and this song is between Valjean and her. In the opinion, the hardest scenes to watch belong to Fantine. “Come to Me” does give Fantine peace and comfort for once. Valjean agrees and promises to her that he will raise Cosette as his own. He stayed with her to the end. While her time in the musical is short-lived, she is still one of the principal characters.
Come to Me- Valjean and Fantine
Come to Me

No Matter What

  • This is one of the family duets. This happens between Belle and Maurice. While the town might think they are odd, Belle and her father do not see each other that way. This song does truly show how much Belle and her father do love each other.

Phantom of the Opera

  • This is a protagonist and antagonist. That is my opinion- I believe Christine is the protagonist and Phantom is the antagonist. In the song, I love the haunting and mystic feeling; going through the lair/boats, etc. It is an amazing scene to watch.

Confrontation

  • Another protagonist and antagonist song is “Confrontation” that happens between Valjean and Javert. You strongly start to see their dynamic unfold in this song. It does happen at a bit of an inconvenient time. After all, this song happens after Fantine dies. At the end, you strongly know that Valjean will keep to his word that we will raise Cosette, Fantine’s daughter, as his own.

What are some your favorite non-romantic musical theatre songs?

The Ultimate Song About Friendship

Coming off of yesterday’s post about what makes me love a friendship in a musical, there are love songs connected to friendship. Is there an ultimate song about friendship?

Major Spoilers:

I believe there is, and I think it is “For Good”, the one found between Elphaba and Glinda. Wicked is NOT about Elphaba, but it is actually about Elphaba and Glinda. It is about their friendship. Their friendship is powerful and beautiful, and the two of them are best friends. “For Good” is the most emotional song in the musical- before this song, the two have realized that this is the last moment they will ever see each other and have realized how much they have changed each other. Glinda was Elphaba’s only friend and Elphaba was the only friend that truly mattered to Glinda.

Their bond is so strong that they do not let a boy in the way of their friendship- I believe that is why there is a love triangle in the first place: it strengthens their friendship and shows their loyalty to each other. They each deal with unrequited love for Fiyero, but do not pursue him or steal him away from each other. I think the unrequited shift is important in that way.

As “For Good” says- “I have been changed for good”. It truly is the ultimate song about friendship. It easily is a tearjerker especially if you get an brilliant Elphaba and a brilliant Glinda- my last Elphaba (Standby Mary Kate Morrissey) and Glinda (Amanda Jane Copper) were like that- they are my favorite Elphaba and Glinda.