Thursday, May 14, 2009

Miss Saigon

I need to blog about March and April, and I will, but Miss Saigon is on my mind constantly, so I will blog about that.

I have been familiar with Miss Saigon since I was in High School. I had *heard* several, or most of the songs, but I guess I never really *listened.* I knew a little bit about the story, but obviously didn't care much.

After Teague did Madame Butterfly and I knew the opportunity of auditioning for Miss Saigon was coming up, I did a little research. I found that it was basically the same story as Madame Butterfly, but set during the Vietnam War and that it was a musical in English, not an Opera in Italian. I knew that there were *prostitutes* and language.

Teague auditioned in January for this production, and we found out shortly after the audition that he was selected. They explained to me how with big productions like this they have 'child wranglers' for the children. They don't like to have parents there. Being in theatre my entire life, and being Teague's mom, I was grateful for this. I remember those 'stage mothers' that were constantly at rehearsals and performances trying to take over (this is my biggest fear). And I also know that Teague behaves much better when mom is not around. They also told me all about the child wrangler that they had hired. She is getting her degree in Early Childhood Education and she works at a daycare. Also, she is the sister of the Stage Manager - we already knew her from Madame Butterfly. I felt fine, more than fine...great.

I told people that he was going to be playing Tam in Miss Saigon, most people responded very positively and would ask about how he got involved etc... A couple of people questioned our decision to let him be in the show, this I didn't understand. I am his mom, and I am a good Mom, I would never intentionally put my child in a difficult situation. I teach my kidlets right from wrong, good from bad, being respectful, kind and having good manners. And believe it or not, my kidlets know when something is 'pretend,' and when something is 'real.' Strange I know. Still, a little part of me (the tiniest part) was wondering if I did indeed make a bad decision.

At the first rehearsal after we met everyone, Aaron, Teague and I were meeting with the stage managers, to ease the tiniest part of my troubled mind, I said to them, "I know that the child wrangler will be with Teague the entire time, And Teague understands the whole suicide part because of Madame Butterfly, I know that the first act of this show is full of...." One of the stage managers cut me off and said, "He won't see any of it."

So, to ease all of your troubled minds....He didn't see any of the prostitute stuff. He did hear language. He never heard the *F* word (it is said 2X), besides, it's not like he hasn't heard it before from the freakin' Taco Bell employees. But, he did hear the *B* words and the *S* word, a few times....pretty much right in his ear. After rehearsal one day he said to me, "Mom, the guy that is sort of like my uncle in the show says some bad words, but it's okay, because I know it is pretend and that I am not suppose to say them." I AM SO PROUD, SEE, I TOLD YOU I'M A GOOD MOM!

Over the past few weeks, I have become very familiar with the story. Even though it is a little colorful, I have to admit I love it. I love the music, I love the feeling. I love the love story. In Madame Butterfly Pinkerton is kind of a butt and you get the sense that he doesn't really love Butterfly. However, in Miss Saigon, Chris is a good person and he truly loves Kim.

When Pinkerton came back to America he basically abandoned and pretty much forgot all about Butterfly until Sharpless lets him know that he had a son. Chris never forgets about Kim, in fact he tried to take her home with him, and when he got home he tried to find her for a year, but then decided he needed to go on with his life.

Pinkerton went back to Japan with his new American wife to bring 'Trouble' home, with no thought of Butterfly. You don't get the sense that he has feelings until Butterfly actually kills herself. Chris on the other hand goes to Thailand with his American wife with hopes of actually working something out with Kim...for Tam's sake. And his wife goes along...willingly, also wanting to help.

That's just the basic differences.

My favorite character in Miss Saigon is John, played by Rodney Hicks. I'll admit it, I have a crush. He is amazing. He sings the song 'Bui-Doi' Every time I cry, actually I SOB. Bui-Doi means "Dust of Life." He is referring to the children that American soldiers fathered with Vietnamese women. I have never in my life thought of how it must be for soldiers to be away from women. After hearing/seeing this song, I think about that. I find myself wondering how many orphans there were out there that are now my age that were adopted, or that weren't. I wonder if they wonder if it is possible to find their American fathers, or if they have. I also find myself wondering about the war now. Is there a whole new generation of 'Bui-Doi's?'

Aaron's favorite character is The Engineer, played by Kevin Gray. He is the comic relief for the show. He has played this character several times, so he has it down. It is good to have this comic relief because the show really is depressing, beautiful, but depressing. 'The American Dream' is the song that you think of when you think of him. It is fabulous, it even has special appearances by a playboy bunny, Hugh Hefner, Jackie O, Elvis, Jimmy Hendrix and others.

Other characters are of course Chris and Kim, played by Josh Rouah and Shannon Tyo.

Thuy and Ellen played by Kelvin Moon Loh and Natalie Hill (a Utah native).

Along with a whole slu of other not only professional, but freakin' amazing actors. Here are some links if you are interested;, PTC cast bios . I also have more pictures on my Facebook page that include more cast and crew.

So, anyway, to make an entirely too long of a post shorter than intended (or whatever) I will just sum it all up by saying Thank you! Thank you so much to everyone who has been so supportive of my little boy. Thank you to the cast and crew (yeah, I'm pretty sure they are going to read this! haha) of the most fabulously talented, humble and kind people I have met, especially thank you for being so gracious with Teague, he loves you so much and had the time of his life.


Tiffany said...

VERY impressive. Of course you are a good mom-don't let yourself doubt it.

Jenny in Utah said...

What an awesome experience ... you know marrying into the family I married into, I have learned a LOT about what happens to mixed race asian babies ... not good. It all is very sad and I what you wrote about your favorite song really hit home.

I am so glad your little guy had this experience - what a great opportunity. Thanks for sharing the story!

Okie said...

Great post.

Miss Saigon is one of my favorites (actually, it's usually #1) and I really wanted to see it again. But it became a toss up between Saigon and Wicked and since I'd seen Miss Saigon 5 times and Wicked 0, the choice came to Wicked (plus my wife isn't as big a Miss Saigon fan as I am...she has a love-hate relationship with it and won't even listen to the soundtrack beyond a certain track because she gets too upset).

Anyway, Miss Saigon is great...definitely not for kids, but great. I'm glad to hear that backstage they keep Tam away from some of the early scenes. Some of the later scenes are intense as well but it sounds like Teague has been taught well and has a good head on his shoulders to distance himself from things.

Sounds like a great time all around. I'm sorry I missed it. :)

Corinne said...

Excellent post - it was great to hear about the experience from your perspective. Teague will always remember that amazing opportunity. Well done, friend, you're a GREAT mom :)