As I wrote about in my piece What Do Any Of Us Know About Love? last month, I was lucky enough to see Frozen twice, both times seeing a different Anna cover. (I also saw the Elsa standby, Alyssa Fox.) It was a funderstudy palooza and while one day I will write about the joy and magic that understudies, swings, and standbys bring to the theatre, today I just want to write about Frozen, the two angles I saw it from, and what it means to me.
While I was watching it, part of me was like a little girl again. I was bouncing around in my seat, my entire life I've been watching Disney movies and even if Frozen isn't my favorite (Beauty and the Beast- forever and always.) I loved watching a movie with strong females where the end goal isn't to get married and there is so much more than just a love story and seeing it on stage was even better. I've also been a fan of magic shows my entire life so being able to combine my love of magic with the stage- even though there were no moments where I was truly baffled as to how they did it, I was still the first to cheer during that beautiful quickchange in Let It Go. And I do hold that Caissie Levy and Alyssa Fox are the luckiest women in the world because there have been times in all our lives where we have listened to Let It Go and done the hand gestures, but when they do it, thanks to the magic lighting and set design, things actually happen.
The inner feminist in me was also happy to see princesses in pants, two strong women in charge of their own destinies, and the bond between them being the heart and soul of the story. As well, it was so exciting to hear all the new songs- I had taken extra care not to listen to them, knowing I would be seeing it live. Which leads me to the other angle I saw it from.
Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (though now they're tottering between bipolar and borderline personality disorder) and it's something I've struggled with. I believe I've talked about it on the blog before, because it's something that I'm still coming to terms with, and using characters that I relate to as a way to find my way through is part of my coping mechanism.
To my surprise, Elsa did that. While when I watched the movie I never particularly thought of her as a poorly written character, in this musical she was so fleshed out that I was in awe, with her two new solos, extended opening to the reprise of For The First Time In Forever, and an actual real finale song. My favorite song by far in the show is Monster, an act two solo where Elsa actually confronts the reality of what she's done. And let me tell you, if you ever wanted to hear a Disney princess contemplate suicide, surprisingly, this the song for you.
A lot of the lines she sings, questioning whether she's just a monster, if her entire life she has to just keep running, and contemplating her own frozen heart... Those are all thoughts that I've had. I've wondered if all I'll ever be is a problem for everyone else. And then, her ending declaration that she will not be a monster and she will do everything she can to make this right... That was a heartwarming moment for me, a realization that just because my brain and society may be working against me, at the end of the day, I still get to write my own story.
I will make mistakes. I will accidentally hurt people. My moods will swing like Sia from a Chandelier. I can't control whether or not that happens, just like Elsa cannot control that she has ice problems. But she can choose not to be a monster, she can choose to try and set things right, and so can I. It may not be the easiest thing in the world, but at the end of the day, we don't have to go back, the past is in the past.
(Photo credit: Andrew Eccles)