Hamilton in the time of Brexit
Back in the spring of 2005 we went on a trip to Lebanon from our home in Syria and while we were there, UN Resolution 1559 came into effect. On the drive back home along the Beirut-Damascus highway, we passed a long caravan of tanks and military vehicles withdrawing. We very literally watched history happen.
I feel like Miriam and I saw history happen in London last week, too, being in the country during the last pre-Brexit days. We made it there and even back from London and Hamilton was not cancelled and Brexit is ongoing but the airport wasn’t on fire so our trip was a success! More than a success, even! Hamilton came to an end on Thursday night and I immediately wished it would start over so I could sit there and watch it again. The first time through I was practically in a fugue state of rapture so I need a second time to really let it sink in!
I’ve been listening to Hamilton for a little over three years now and have most of it (more or less) memorized. There are songs I love and songs I only just like. My opinion of two songs really improved upon seeing them performed live: Burn and The Room Where It Happens. It helped that the London Eliza is AMAZEBALLS. She’s the soul of the original cast recording as well, but I think she is overshadowed by the sheer brilliance of Angelica there. In the London production, our Angelica wasn’t so dominant so Eliza really got to shine.
And The Room Where It Happens: just listening, you can’t tell what a physical song this is. Live, the performers are all over the place and it really brings the song to life. I felt this too about Washington On Your Side - with just the audio, it’s sometimes hard to tell who’s singing what and why. On stage it was suddenly an even better song (and it was already one of my favorites).
And King George III! How does he steal the show like that, with only three songs total (and it’s the SAME SONG all three times)?!?
The shadow of Brexit was everywhere during our trip, including Hamilton. All those “are you sure you want to leave/are you happy now you’ve left?” songs seemed to have a double meaning. Outside the theater, Brexit was in the streets and on billboards and advertisements and in the hands of demonstrators.
The day of Hamilton we went on a bike tour of London and our guide was asking us about our plans. When I mentioned Hamilton, he started Brit-splaining to me that most of the common people in England during the Revolutionary War were pro-American-colonist and that they would have withdrawn all the troops pretty soon anyway. Yes! They let us win! I have no idea if this is just something this one guy was saying, or if it’s taught this way in schools (or heck, even if it’s true! Because it might be), but it I love hearing local history-teaching quirks so it was very entertaining.