Was Evan Hansen punished enough for his sin?

RaisedOnMusicals Profile PhotoRaisedOnMusicals Profile Photo
RaisedOnMusicals
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/10
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/20/10

Here's Peter Marks' answer to that question from his column In the Washington Post last week. DEH is now at The Kennedy Center.:

:"That Evan does everything wrong — particularly, in the repulsive invention of a history with a dead student that increases his visibility and popularity at school — does not disqualify him as a winning character. Some observers argue that Levenson, Pasek and Paul have not adequately punished Evan for his transgressions. But on closer inspection, “Dear Evan Hansen” makes plain that any tougher retribution by the authors would be overkill. For no one punishes Evan more than Evan himself."

 

CZJ at opening night party for A Little Night Music, Dec 13, 2009.
Mike Barrett  Profile PhotoMike Barrett  Profile Photo
Mike Barrett
Broadway Legend
joined:4/13/13
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/13/13

Yes, I believe so personally. As the column said no one punishes him more than himself, which is evident in one of the final scenes with his mother. 

Harpz2006 Profile PhotoHarpz2006 Profile Photo
Harpz2006
Broadway Star
joined:1/3/08
Broadway Star
joined:
1/3/08
Yes, he is more than punished enough for his sin. I SO don’t understand the people who say Evan is a sociopath and his behavior is glorified. He feels so much remorse and shame for his actions, which contradicts the very definition of sociopathy.
Bigserver1
Swing
joined:6/24/19
Swing
joined:
6/24/19

Not that the storyline is perfect by any means, but anyone who gets to "Words Fail" and then "So Big/So Small" and still doesn't think Evan suffers enough internally for his actions is missing something. 

RaisedOnMusicals Profile PhotoRaisedOnMusicals Profile Photo
RaisedOnMusicals
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/10
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/20/10

Bigserver1 said: "Not that thestoryline is perfect by any means, but anyone who gets to "Words Fail" and then "So Big/So Small" and still doesn't think Evan suffers enough internallyfor his actions is missing something."

Agree 100%. Both songs make me cry each time I hear them. 

CZJ at opening night party for A Little Night Music, Dec 13, 2009.
Mike Barrett  Profile PhotoMike Barrett  Profile Photo
Mike Barrett
Broadway Legend
joined:4/13/13
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/13/13

Bigserver1 said: "Not that thestoryline is perfect by any means, but anyone who gets to "Words Fail" and then "So Big/So Small" and still doesn't think Evan suffers enough internallyfor his actions is missing something."

Yep, this 100%! 

Rainah
Broadway Star
joined:11/24/16
Broadway Star
joined:
11/24/16

HOT TAKE

This is entirely the wrong question to ask and does not understand why some people are frustrated with the show. And 'sin' is a pretty loaded word to use in itself.

Rather, how does the NARRATIVE treat Evan's actions? Not the plot (He lies, this causes most of the characters in the show to suffer, he admits it and doesn't get everything he wanted) but how the structure of the show tells us how we are supposed to feel about it.

Pretty much every choice made in how to present the plot, is designed to make us empathize with Evan and to take focus off of the harm he caused. Word's Fail is a great example. We don't get to see any of the fallout of the Murphy's reacting to the truth because the show immediately cuts to Evan's internal monologue, explaining why he did what he did and how bad he feels about it. The show then pivots to his relationship with his mother, and we see no more of the adult Murphys at all.

Had the show been structured even slightly differently, with no changes to the plot, I suspect audiences would leave the show feeling very differently about Evan as a character.

 

 

 

Roscoe
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/15/03

"Pretty much every choice made in how to present the plot, is designed to make us empathize with Evan and to take focus off of the harm he caused." 

This.  A thousand times, THIS.

"If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers." Thomas Pynchon, GRAVITY'S RAINBOW "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Philip K. Dick My blog: http://www.roscoewrites.blogspot.com/
52889j
Understudy
joined:12/8/15
Understudy
joined:
12/8/15

Rainah said: "HOT TAKE

This is entirely the wrong question to ask and does not understand why some people are frustrated with the show. And 'sin' is a pretty loaded word to use in itself.

Rather, how does the NARRATIVE treat Evan's actions? Not the plot (He lies, this causes most of the characters in the show to suffer, he admits it and doesn't get everything he wanted) but how the structure of the show tells us how we are supposed to feel about it.

Pretty much every choice made in how to present the plot, is designed to make us empathize with Evan and to take focus off of the harm he caused. Word's Fail is a great example. We don't get to see any of the fallout of the Murphy's reacting to the truth because the show immediately cuts to Evan's internal monologue, explaining why he did what he did and how bad he feels about it. The show then pivots to his relationship with his mother, and we see no more of the adult Murphys at all.

Had the show been structured even slightly differently, with no changes to the plot, I suspect audiences would leave the show feeling very differently about Evan as a character.






"

DINGDINGDING!

 

"Punish" is also entirely the wrong word here. The problem isn't the lack of punishment, but rather the excessive, over-eager and preemptive forgiveness.

Updated On: 8/12/19 at 02:35 PM
Will3700 Profile PhotoWill3700 Profile Photo
Will3700
Stand-by
joined:5/6/13
Stand-by
joined:
5/6/13
On a different note. Is Andrew Barth Feldman out of DEH this week especially Saturday night Aug 17???
joevitus Profile Photojoevitus Profile Photo
joevitus
Stand-by
joined:7/10/19
Stand-by
joined:
7/10/19

RaisedOnMusicals said: "Here's Peter Marks' answer to that question from his column In the Washington Post last week. DEH is now at The Kennedy Center.:

:"That Evan does everything wrong — particularly, in the repulsive invention of a history with a dead student that increases his visibility and popularity at school — does not disqualify him as a winning character. Some observers argue that Levenson, Pasek and Paul have not adequately punished Evan for his transgressions. But on closer inspection, “Dear Evan Hansen” makes plain that any tougher retribution by the authors would be overkill. For no one punishes Evan more than Evan himself."


Nothing repulsive in his actions, and he instigated very little himself that was wrong--things spiralled out of control. He's a very alienated kid who can't figure out how to develop healthy interactions. He made something up and it got out of hand and then he didn't know how to deal with the results. 

I find the judgmental nature of the quote, particularly for what is an entirely fictional story (do Broadway shows need warnings akin the "no animals were actually harmed in the making of this movie" notice on t.v./film?), pretty absurd/indicative of the culture in which we currently live.

 

Updated On: 8/12/19 at 02:54 PM
Platypus
Featured Actor
joined:11/13/07
Featured Actor
joined:
11/13/07

Nothing repulsive in his actions, and he instigated verylittle himself that was wrong--things spiralled out of control. He's a very alienated kid who can't figure out how to develop healthy interactions. He made something up and it got out of hand and then he didn't know how to deal with the results.

I find the judgmental nature of the quote, particularly for what is an entirely fictional story (do Broadway shows need warnings akin the "no animals were actually harmed in the making of this movie" notice on t.v./film?), pretty absurd/indicative of the culture in which we currently live.
"

Saying that "he instigated very little" and "things spiralled out of his control" implies he was powerless in the spreading of the lie. The part that bothers me is that in his "conflict" he acts like he did nothing to spread the lie, when half the show is showing him feeding into the lie by slowly feeding the family fake emails. Why does someone like that deserve any pity? The way that he fell into the lie was so contrived to begin with, it was well within his power to stop it before it went any further.

 

getupngo Profile Photogetupngo Profile Photo
getupngo
Featured Actor
joined:1/22/19
Featured Actor
joined:
1/22/19

Roscoe said: ""Pretty much every choice made in how to present the plot, is designed to make us empathize with Evan and to take focus off of the harm he caused."

This. A thousand times, THIS.
"

F**K FINALLY. I thought I was the only person who got this

Impossible2
Broadway Legend
joined:3/31/18
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/31/18

Of course he does, anyone who thinks otherwise has a screw loose x

bwayphreak234 Profile Photobwayphreak234 Profile Photo
bwayphreak234
Broadway Legend
joined:7/4/10
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/4/10

getupngo said: "Roscoe said: ""Pretty much every choice made in how to present the plot, is designed to make us empathize with Evan and to take focus off of the harm he caused."

This. A thousand times, THIS.
"

F**K FINALLY. I thought I was the only person who got this
"

YES. I also  just have so many problems with this show and how it handles and portrays certain issues.

 

"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "
BuddyStarr Profile PhotoBuddyStarr Profile Photo
BuddyStarr
Broadway Star
joined:3/28/17
Broadway Star
joined:
3/28/17

Enjoying this thread and I just saw the touring company (won two lottery tickets) and I was amazed how different the show is with another Evan.  While I had issues with the original production, Ben Platt had a way of generating empathy for him.  His acting choices were also more natural that some of the lies he spouted were just coming out of him out of nerves.  The actor on tour (the one doing the matinees and select evening performances) didn't quite capture the same moments as Platt.  His lies seemed more deliberate and calculating and there was no empathy for him at all at the end.  

I never felt that Evan really paid for everything he caused and don't really buy into the "ends justifies the means" since the family had finally gotten closure and closer to each other.

Charley Kringas Inc Profile PhotoCharley Kringas Inc Profile Photo
Charley Kringas Inc
Broadway Star
joined:8/12/11
Broadway Star
joined:
8/12/11
DEH is a Fosse-dark show trapped in a Disney after-school special.
darquegk Profile Photodarquegk Profile Photo
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/5/09

It's a saccharine "World's Greatest Dad," which had the much more daring and dangerous moral that "some people really are better off dead, and are not deserving of love or empathy."

Jarethan
Broadway Legend
joined:2/10/11
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/10/11

Rainah said: "HOT TAKE

This is entirely the wrong question to ask and does not understand why some people are frustrated with the show. And 'sin' is a pretty loaded word to use in itself.

Had the show been structured even slightly differently, with no changes to the plot, I suspect audiences would leave the show feeling very differently about Evan as a character.



I think the extreme majority of attendees at a DEH performances feel extremely sad for Evan as they are leaving the theatre.  He made mistakes, but he was so lonely and unhappy that it was believable that a kid like him would have acted as he did.  

If your last phrase was correct, I doubt that such a serious show would still be selling out after 1,100 performances, with an average ticket price in excess of $150: translation: selling out with limited if ny discounting underway.

 

haterobics Profile Photohaterobics Profile Photo
haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/29/14

As long as he confessed to his priest and said the appropriate number of Our fathers and Hail Marys, he doesn't need punishment. He's forgiven!

joevitus Profile Photojoevitus Profile Photo
joevitus
Stand-by
joined:7/10/19
Stand-by
joined:
7/10/19

I'm not aware that Evan committed any sins, but as he lost his "new family" and really has no relationship with the girl he cared for (and who seems to have cared for him), it's pretty clear he's experienced as much bad fallout from the experience as everyone else. The idea that he has to "pay for sins" for the evening to be pleasing to someone strikes me as ridiculously judgmental. 

VotePeron Profile PhotoVotePeron Profile Photo
VotePeron
Broadway Legend
joined:5/2/13
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/2/13

joevitus said: "I'm not aware that Evan committed any sins, but as he lost his "new family" and really has no relationship with the girl he cared for (and who seems to have cared for him), it's pretty clear he's experienced as much bad fallout from the experience as everyone else. The idea that he has to "pay for sins" for the evening to be pleasing to someone strikes me as ridiculously judgmental."

Ok ok ok I was trying to stay out of this thread but I just can’t. 

To say that Evan, who was in control of his own circumstances, had just as bad of a fallout as the Murphy family who lost their son to suicide is absurd. To your other point, he never had a real relationship with the girl he had feelings for because it was all built on top of a huge lie that influenced her falling for him, as she wanted nothing to do with him before this. 

Evan suffered zero repercussions. He gains a fabulous new wardrobe and the loss of all ticks and stutters. How anyone defends this show is beyond me. 

joevitus Profile Photojoevitus Profile Photo
joevitus
Stand-by
joined:7/10/19
Stand-by
joined:
7/10/19

He ends the play alone. What do you want him to suffer? What would be "enough"?

GavestonPS Profile PhotoGavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/10/12

Roscoe said: ""Pretty much every choice made in how to present the plot, is designed to make us empathize with Evan and to take focus off of the harm he caused."

This. A thousand times, THIS.
"

The same can be said of every comedy written over the past 2,500 years.

Yes, Evan tells lies, some of which benefit him, but most of which are also misguided attempts to comfort others. Compare him to Harold Hill, an out-and-out con man who only suffers having to admit the truth to Winthrop in front of the woman Harold loves. (Vaguely like another character we might name.)

This is only an issue to Millennials and all-around misanthropes.

joevitus Profile Photojoevitus Profile Photo
joevitus
Stand-by
joined:7/10/19
Stand-by
joined:
7/10/19

Thank you!