For whatever reasons we had never seen the musical Miss Saigon. Yesterday though we made the trek over to Victoria for the matinee.
The moment the curtain rose my reaction was visceral and conflicted. Initially it struck me as strange to trivialize the events leading up to the fall of Saigon in 1975 with singing and dancing. We have read too much and seen too much coverage of this startling event, with hundreds, no thousands, of terrified Vietnamese being abandoned by the Americans to settle into the musical telling of this tragedy.
Lost in the whorehouse scenes was the desperation of young soldiers who had lost themselves, their moral compasses and their humanity.
At the opening scene of the second act, the tragic consequences of stolen moments of love amidst the insanity of war, the Amerasian children left behind, became the focus. The floodgates opened and I could not staunch the tears that flowed for the rest of the production. These kids were born into a society that regarded mixed blood children as the dust of life.
It was a curious thing to sit in a theatre in downtown Victoria, with my veteran husband for whom this was so much more than a musical production. It was a strange thing to experience the juxtaposition of raucous and sometimes humorous numbers with tragic scenes of loss. I wondered how many people sitting there in the dark were crying as they clapped?