The phantom of the opera: what an exciting book from a different world for a 17-year-old! History, ghost story, and romance all entwined. Half a lifetime later I finally saw the original production in London, at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Oh the glitz and glamour, the mystery, the troubles of love! Also, oh the numbers of Asian tourists taking selfies in an eerie glow produced by cell phones in the dark theater. And what class: a play in its 29th year could be bland, worn out, a conveyer belt production. But not the Phantom: spotless, gorgeous scenery and costumes, a Christine with an angel’s voice, and a Phantom with true acting skills.
Two hours later, as I walked back to the hotel, I could not help but wonder how Gaston Leroux would have felt, had he known that his book was being staged and acted out still 100 years after it was written? Would he have written a different kind of ending, knowing that 100 years later, to have a crippled, deformed face does not lead to a loveless life spent in hiding and desperation?
(Top image courtesy of The Phantom of the Opera).
(London, United Kingdom; June 2015)