Sondheim Symposium [Sequence Index]

In the summer of 2012, I threw the best birthday party ever when I bribed all my friends with pizza and cake in order to get them to watch a Sondheim double feature.  First, we watched Company, Sondheim's concept musical about marriage, and then we saw Passion, which has a linear narrative but still manages to be a lot more disorienting.  And then we had an argument. Since Company was, at the time of writing, available on Netflix instant play, I invited blog readers to watch along and … [Read more...]

Teaching Fish the Word for Water

In the last Sondheim Symposium post, I talked about Giorgio struggling with Fosca's implacable love.  If his reluctance to accept her unconditional love parallels the flinch away from grace, does it follow that Fosca is a Christ-like figure? Probably not.  For a while after I saw the show, I suspected her of ostentatious humility.  In fact, I hoped that some of her prostrations were insincere.  She was starting to remind me of the awful, self-abnegating image of love on display in … [Read more...]

“Nobody human can stand all that everlasting affection!”

The quote is from Company, the subject is Passion, as the Sondheim Symposium goes on. This installment includes spoilers for 1984. At the climax of 1984, Winston is broken by the tortures in room 101. The moment that anihilates him and represents victory for Big Brother is the moment where he cries out: Do it to her! Do it to Julia! I don’t care what you do to her, but do it to her! Tear her face off! Do it to Julia, not to me! Do it to Julia! Not me! If this is betrayal, we might … [Read more...]