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Student Blog: Why we need more low-stakes shows

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We need more heroes who resemble us.

Student Blog: Why we need more low-stakes shows
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Most often than not, musicals have ridiculously high stakes, such as founding a brand new country or overcome a musical alien hive mind. But what about what we commoners have to face every day? You now might be thinking, ironically, "she's the funny one at parties!" and, of course, we need to escape from our reality, and musical theatre is a great way to do so, just as music, cinema or theatre are. Even if, sometimes, we like to be able to relate our struggles, our experiences and our accomplishments to the ones our favourites characters also share. It is both validating and gratifying.

In this interview, you can read how Lin-Manuel Miranda talked some producers out of changing the storyline of Nina in In The Heights. Indeed, some of them thought that maybe she should be pregnant or leave an abusive relationship to justify her dropping out of Stanford. By pushing his original idea through, Miranda offered us a character that feels real and is easily relatable. I will probably never have to preach the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints in Uganda, or, no matter how badly I wish for it to happen, I will never be Spiderman. On the other hand, I have faced things such as academic failure. Sometimes, screaming to a song that literally tells what you are going through works wonders for your mental health.

Do not get me wrong, I adore some shows, even if I cannot relate to the characters and their storylines. We can overlook this by focusing on a different part of the musical. Most of the stories include a moral more or less evident to the audience regardless of how high its stakes are or how relatable the story and parts are. I think that we can get something out of almost any show. It can be something as cliché as to stand up for what you believe in, or that it is okay to be different, or that love can save you. Those lessons might seem insignificant, but to hear them at a young age can have such an influence on us. Teens years can be a rough time, and feeling like we belong makes a difference.

Some musicals sometimes have both high and low stakes. Maybe their world is in peril, but the most important thing is something that the hero might be going through. This equilibrium allows us to explore a world where the characters are out of their comfort zone which leads them to a change. That is a great way to combine an unrealistic environment with relatable traits or personalities.

In conclusion, shows, as well as characters, can be ambitious regardless of the importance of the role they play. You can write about someone just going through their life and still make it impactful. We do not always need catastrophe scenarios, but we need more heroes who resemble us. We also need to get rid of the idea that smaller stakes are not less important than the highest.


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From This Author StudentBlogger Loriane Donnet-Monay