Monday, September 16, 2019

it slams into our consciousness

Hamilton: The Gestalt

the story of the past is no transparent, linear
recitation of how things came to be 
back then and into the now,
timelines and narration can give us the illusion
that how things came to be
is all rational and accessible
to a consensus of agreement,
rather, reality can lurch from the improbable through the fantastic, 
and only touch upon the predictable,
we can look backwards and trick ourselves 
into thinking that we can know the cause of the effect,

Hamilton is devastatingly powerful
in its telling of people, events, relationships,
Hamilton slams into our consciousness 
with the surety of scripted choreography,
driving orchestration and song,
with its spectacular staging, 
as levels and lighting and costume
frame the virtuosity of score and performance,
of the living, and dying, reality before us,
personalities and conflicts reduced and expanded
to what can fit on stage,
to what can be told without nuanced subtlety,
the visceral leap into this world so gripping
that theaters fill as countless of us make a path to their doors,

what is important in Hamilton is the power of the presentation,
as personalities harmonize and conflict with each other,
as the human world wrenches with ideas:
flesh-and-blood in the throes of the abstract,
the abstract intermingled with the physicality of self and ego,
as those of color embody those of the past,
even those who could not see past their own blinders,
the actors of color are fully there and real to truth,
what a tribute to New York, and America,
as where one can define one’s self anew,
just as actor and medium here define Hamilton’s story anew,

I cannot quite know that the gestalt of this musical masterpiece
elucidates or obscures individual pieces of the truth of the time,
I do quite know that the gestalt of this musical masterpiece
opens doors into the past and present
that takes our breath away
and opens us into the power of its truth.

by Henry H. Walker
September 16, ‘19

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