"Answer for the accusations I lay at your feet or prepare to bleed ..."
On the night I went to see Hamilton
, Leslie Odom Jr. absolutely floored me as Aaron Burr. And as much as I love the original soundtrack it just does not compare to the real emotions that went unhinged live on stage. [x]
For those of you who don't know, in the play, Hamilton is characterized as this passionate and outspoken immigrant foot soldier who's too smart for his own good. He has real ambitions of starting a revolution and changing a nation. But his political rival, Aaron Burr, seems to have no clear objective on any issue. He's self-serving, indecisive, and comfortable with the political uncertainty of their time. And he's jealous of Hamilton's success.
And what's so wild and Amadeus-y
about the musical is that Burr is the narrator
. He's the one telling Hamilton's story. And throughout the play he steps in and out of the frame just to add his own rhetoric to certain events that pertain to him. There are moments where Burr's cynicism is asking you to choose and sympathize with his point of view. But Hamilton's too fucking charming and there's really no stopping your preference for the ten-dollar founding father without a father. It's impossible.
"We ride at midnight, Manhattan in the distance." [x]
By the time George Washington enters the fray everything really starts to take shape. Washington sees right through Burr's guile and thirst for recognition. And he knocks Burr down a peg, keeping him at a distance while choosing to trust Hamilton as his right hand man.
The Battle of Yorktown. 1781. [x]
"I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory ..."
I've been thinking back on the amount of patience and excitement I had about the show since last summer, when I first booked tickets to see it. I remember holding off on the original soundtrack so that I could go in with an open mind, unlike what I've done in the past with RENT
and Les Miz
where I replayed the soundtracks over and over and learned all the lines like it was my homework. But a week before I was scheduled to see the show I gave in, betrayed my values and my ancestors and played the album. And after hearing the first 8 tracks that was it for me. I knew I was in for something special.
touches on the concept of legacy and what it means to leave one behind. And Lin-Manuel Miranda
has been an advocate of its meaning throughout the play's success. In a recent TIME
mag interview where he gives millennials Advice for Surviving Their 20s
— he talks about the positive connotations of being an immigrant and how he's been worried about 'legacy' since he was a kid.
At its core Hamilton
is a story about an immigrant who writes his way out of poverty. And because Lin's been able to make that connection, it's a truth that I easily identify with because — as a product of immigrant parents and as a person of color
, I had to learn at a very early age that my existence came with plenty of expectation. And for a lot of first-gens out there it's natural to grow up feeling like you have so much to accomplish just to make up that difference and be able to convince yourself that everything you've done up to this point was worth the sacrifice.
I mean. I don't know what the fuck I'm doing with the time I've been given on this planet. But Lin has certainly made me think about it.
Labels: hamilton, lin-manuel miranda, musicals, scans