Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Aspects of Eponine

Eponine, significance of her: man's voice; passing resemblance to a bat; eventual cross-dressing; pride in literacy; happy childhood; pretty face; viciousness; wounds. There is so much to think about about Eponine. This past weekend I did a Google search for Eponine and found some of her fans, their outposts with photos. Because of course she is in the musical and major there: "the other woman," rival to the oh-so-ugh-too-sweet Cosette whom a certain kind of girl, a certain kind of boy, too, just rejects out of hand--Cosette the way-too-straight one. Which, I don't know: maybe it is hard to show on stage amid choruses and melting greaspaint the differences between compelling and attractive, even arresting and attractive. That the more bizarre is not necessarily more beautiful is a concept quite foreign to modern musical theater (at least). That the evils of her upbringing and her society have given Eponine a twisted heart destined to stop young, through some misadventure punctured; and that what she finally achieves of "redemption" through "love" is inseparable from the fatal harm she's tried to cause--and dies happily believing she has caused: these are aspects of Eponine that I think may not have survived intact the passage from book to Broadway. I'll have to see someday. Meanwhile I think about her and with her truest fans I blink back tears (19), walking around downtown outside work, or sitting at my desk, reading and re-reading her end, not wanting to leave that dead girl's tragic body in the dark and mire.

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