Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rent Says Goodbye


I'm not a big fan of musicals. I will go see them if someone is desperate to go, or if I have a friend who is starring in one, but for the most part they just don't interest me. I do like the opera though, and I remember about ten years ago or so, someone told me that I had to go to New York and see this brand new musical based on La Boheme. They said it was called Rent. About two months later I was in New York and someone asked me if I wanted to go see Rent. I had completely forgotten about it, until they mentioned it, but said sure.

I have now seen Rent about 15 times live and watched the movie countless additional times. To some, Rent is just music and a good story, but if you read my posts on World Aids Day you know that Rent can be very personal and very moving and very identifiable. In 1989 and 1990 when the story is supposed to take place, AIDS was a death sentence and you saw how different people coped in different ways. Those people with AIDS came from a wide variety of backgrounds and had a variety of friends which all intertwined. Added to the hopelessness of AIDS, was the homeless issue and the stark background of New York smack in the middle of an economic recession. It was real, and therefore is also the problem with its long term survival prospects.

People who are in their early 20's now have no idea how to relate to any of those issues which I mentioned above and so to them it is just a story. They might not even catch on that some of the characters have AIDS. This is not their reality. It doesn't affect them. It is way to serious to just see lightly on a Sunday afternoon. It is not going to numb you like two hours at Mamma Mia. It is going to hit you head on and confront you. It is going to make you think and reflect about what was and what you lived through. The problem is younger audiences never lives with it and so don't get it, and aren't confronted and aren't reflecting. They should.

If you want to see Rent before it closes you have until June 1st. Take someone who has never been before. Take someone younger than you. Talk to them after. Tell them what it was like. Tell them how you had friends just like those in the play. It is a part of our history that is already being forgotten. Try to do your best to make sure it isn't.

15 comments:

littleoleme said...

I couldn't disagree more. Rent is shyte. South Park nailed it when they did thier parody called Lease.

Mooshki said...

Let me guess, littleoleme, you're in your early 20's, right?

littleoleme said...

No mooshki, I'm in my early 40's , volunteered at AIDS networks before it was chic , have lost several frineds to AIDS and know crappy entertaimment when I see it.
Interestingly enough my friends, gay and straight, also thought the LEASE parody was hysterical and that RENT is overblown.

Twisted Sister said...

OFF TOPIC -

Surfer was kind enough to post this on one of yesterday's threads:


surfer said...

Hey guys,

Gawker has posted four new TC videos - view them before they're yanked!

http://gawker.com/345563/tom-cruise-uncut-the-freedom-medal-award-ceremony

11:16 AM



THANKS, SURFER!!!!!!!!!

captivagrl said...

the fact that young people cannot relate today is a tribute to everyone that works for a cure (and treatment). it's also a tribute to the people who's mission is awareness, prevention, and fundraising. let's never forget the 80's, but be grateful for how far we've come and continue to support the cause.(worldwide)

princessj1987 said...

Well, I am in my early 20s and I can relate to it. Someone very close to me lost their battle with AIDS. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for black women within my age group. I've seen Rent hundereds of times practically(and have one of the songs on my Ipod). I live in NYC and when I saw Rent for the first time in the movie theatre, the audience applauded. I don't know too many people in NYC that haven't been affected by AIDS in some way. So while there are many that can't relate, there are some that can.

surfer said...

You're welcome sista! It's nice to know I'm not the only one who reads old(er) posts.

BTW, loved, loved, loved Rent. And you're right Enty, the younger ones really can't relate, especially now with all the latest drug cocktails that are allowing people to live longer. Unfortunately, these drugs are now creating new, unforeseen health issues.

Fabiola Thing said...

It has nothing to do with being able to "relate."
I am older than dirt. I did not see Rent on Broadway but I did TRY to watch the movie.
Couldn't do it. It was insufferable.
I will, however, rent the South Park DVD that has Lease on it ASAP.

jax said...

well for someone "so in tune" with the gay/hiv community in their 40's...you certainly dont show much compassion.IMO.

you completely missed the point.
whether you think Rent is crap or not..the point is that aside from it being a Broadway show..it was a peek into the lifes of many with different faces around the world who are affected by this daily to show and educate those that aren't familliar with the virus.

Harriet Hellfire said...

*L* I thought of "Lease" as well when I read this. I am not a big fan of musicals in the first place, but I especially disliked Rent. I do understand the message, and I do remember when AIDS first became known, but I'd rather read about it or watch a documentary than a bunch of people breaking out in song at the most inopportune moments. I thought Rent was really, really bad. Then again, I saw it in Swedish. Maybe that was why.

littleoleme said...

For those who will be looking for Lease I had the right people but the wrong show. It was in the Trey Parker/ Matt Stone movie Team America - World Police.

califblondy said...

I plan to rent the DVD. I remember when the creator died. I've seen a few numbers from the show and it definitely looks like my kind of thing.

My obsession is A Chorus Line and so many of the original people connected to that show are dead now from HIV. All I had access to back then was the movie and I've seen ACL a jillion times. It's too bad I saw it first on film and many years later on stage.

Mooshki said...

I literally could not breathe I was laughing so hard at the "Lease" scene, I just don't think the quality of the show had anything to do with Ent's post. :)

Anonymous said...

Just because Im in my early twenties doesnt mean I havent been affected by AIDS, dont understand its impact on our culture, cant appreciate an artistic expression of pain and loss based on that concept, or view HIV/AIDS as just some pesky virus that you can suppress with drugs...isnt that just a little unfair?

Anna said...

I don't think people in their twenties cannot relate. Perhaps we did not live through the early years of AIDS, but the show helps us to understand what it was like. And that's just one thread of the show -- what I tend to identify with is the theme of disconnection, both personal and social. The show's still relevant in many ways and it's huge among musical theatre geeks. It's on in London still and I'm sure it will be revived on Broadway.

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