Tuesday, February 14, 2012

GRIZABELLA and THE DEATH OF A SHAHEED

(He would have been 41 today.)

Brilliant!  Brilliant!  Brilliant!!  I have read many comparisons and opinions about Elaine Paige's interpretation of Grizabella  and that of Betty Buckley as Grizabella.

First, please listen to Ms. Paige's performance.


Elaine's Grizabella is sad, bedraggled, defeated, completely down and out.  I feel pity for her and her plight.  Her singing is exquisite and moving in its beauty. I cannot but feel very sorry for her pathetic Grizabella, the poor, down-trodden former glamour cat.   I am happy to see her lifted out of her tragic existence and chosen to be reborn.  It is a stellar performance.


Now, please listen to Betty Buckley as Grizabella the Glamour Cat.




Betty  Buckley's Grizabella, the second performance you just listened to,  inevitably moves me to tears. She is feeling, living, every emotion, all the pain, the despair that she refuses to give in to, clinging to that last hope, that last bit of dignity. I feel no pity for her Grizabella.  Compassion, perhaps, or empathy.  This Grizabella is down about as low as it is possible to go and yet she retains her pride and dignity as a cat must; she is not defeated. I don't know who is the better singer, but this performance is Grizabella to me.  This is the embodiment of artistic integrity.




 I have known a very few people like this in my days as a social activist.  These are the people I most respect and admire, the ones who have every logical reason to give up, to accept whatever crap life hands them, to lose all hope and curl up in a sad, little, pathetic ball and die...but are somehow able to reach inside and pull out that strength and dignity  to demand - not beg -

"Touch me!"

You can turn away if you choose, but there is a promise here that is often overlooked or misunderstood:

"If you touch me, you'll understand what happiness is."

I have expressed my admiration of the potential greatness of our species many times.  I don't get that admiration from looking at the easy, showy, obvious achievements that others seem to so much admire.  Yes, the big buildings and spaceships and the superhighways are all impressive, but that is not where our true greatness lies.

Our true greatness comes from overcoming adversity, refusing to accept others' negative judgments of us, having the strength and courage  to stand up and scream to the whole social structure:

"Go to bloody hell, you cannot keep me down.  
You can kill me, but you cannot defeat me. "

My admiration is of these generally unsung, unknown valiant souls who keep their integrity and their dignity in the face of all adversity and mistreatment.  Not humiliation.  Such people cannot be humiliated, since only those who consent can be humiliated.  These will never consent. I pray that I am someday found worthy to be included in their number. They are my examples.  They are my heroes.  They are my teachers.

People who know me and know of my life have often asked me  where I got the strength and inspiration to keep going after the horrendous things that I have been through.  Now you know.

"Look!  A new day has begun..."



2 comments:

  1. Very inspiring. Every word you write here speaks of a very innate strength of character, a strength acquired with all that life has hurled your way.

    I offer a very humble salute to your spirit.

    Asha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll surprise you and tell my spirit to accept your salute.

      I'll surprise you even more and tell you that I highly admire your strength and courage and am honoured to count you among my friends.

      Delete

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