I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
I managed to forget what it was based on and cried at the end, but nearly bawled so loudly the actors would have startled.
I also happened to read this tweet yesterday:
Listening to Puerto Rican characters sing about how much they loved life in America - much more than in Puerto Rico - made me think about this tweet. I'm almost happy I'd never seen the whole thing until today, because it was gut-wrenchingly thought provoking and affirmation of the power of even dated material. (And yes, a lot of WSS IS dated, but it's no less moving.) Here I was, enjoying a story about overcoming differences, that touched on immigration and the Othering of people, while it's happening on our borders: people are being dehumanized through acts like this. How powerful these songs were, more so than when I'd heard them before. (And yes, I'd managed to hear most of the songs without having seen the whole thing.)
How odd the dissonance between what was happening on stage and in real life. This dissonance managed to make the musical seem that much more idealistic, and made it that much more important to me to reach for that idealism.
And I felt guilty for enjoying it despite what was happening. How much does my life stop while this does? It didn't, and I said yes to the ticket without really thinking through this. I had the luxury of doing this, even as families were being torn apart, not just physically but emotionally. The lies told to this girl tore her family apart far more than any physical separation.
And yet I don't feel too guilty: I needed the kick in the pants, and the reminder that we can imagine a better world. If we can imagine it, can we eventually make it come true? I don't know, but I do hope so and I think it's worth trying to make it happen. Brutal mistakes are made, in fiction, in real life, but at the very least we should learn from them and try to do better in our daily lives. I'm going to recommit to that from now on.