Tuesday, June 07, 2005


In the line of duty, I recently agreed to watch the musical "Oklahoma". I'm a music therapist, and a group of my clients wants to put on a truncated version of the play; I figured it would be good for them to have a goal to work towards, and they'd all get a kick out of it, so why not? I'd never really seen it, though, so I borrowed a video of it for research purposes.

Well, after watching about half of the film version (all I could get through so far), I have a few answers to that "why not?". Mostly, it's just a bizarre piece of theater. It started out innocuously (if saccharinely) enough: boy likes girl, girl likes boy, but both are too smart-alecky to admit it. Oh, the tension! Midway through, though, things take an abrupt turn towards the macabre when the lead male character walks into his rival's hut, notices a rope lying around, and helpfully points out that it would be a good rope for hanging yourself with. He then launches into a surreal song from the point of view of the people attending the rival's funeral, after he (the rival) has hung himself.

This is one of the weirdest things I've ever seen, and I've seen the entire corpus of John Waters and a 3D porn movie from 1977.

I guess I should go back and watch the rest, but I'm a little afraid now. I mean, how do you follow up a number in which a Hollywood cowboy serenades a Hollywood farmhand with the soundtrack to his own hypothetical funeral? There's a scene coming up involving homemade pies; maybe they'll turn out to be human pies a la Sweeney Todd. I'm repulsed and intrigued at the same time. . .


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