William Shakespeare wrote “King Lear” while avoiding the plague. Isaac Newton developed his theories on gravity and calculus, also while avoiding the plague. I’m publishing this post while we all are taking part in the worldwide lock-in (lock-in sounds nicer than lockdown according to this tweet).
Before everything went a bit surreal, there was a weekend in which one of my to-do’s finally got done. No, no I’m not talking about the epic battle which was mowing overgrown grass. Sorry, to those who I messaged (mainly Pam from this post) throughout that afternoon as I cut down those green blades. I digress. Focus.
Winning for real
I’ve wanted to watch “Hamilton” the musical for a few years, Aman (the one from this post) and I have been plotting on how to get tickets minus the eye-watering price. Turns out another gem of a friend would solve this. She won tickets for a tenner in the theatre lottery. Yes, Isis!! No, not the Egyptian goddess of life, and definitely not the other one either. This Isis is my creative friend, and as far as I know, she is mortal.
Haste to see “Hamilton”
I received the phone call from Isis in the retail cathedral that is Ikea while choosing cake in the canteen. Cake before shelves, c’mon priorities people.
On hearing news of the happy invite, I wanted to scream with joy but had to settle for low-level excited squealing as my wondering mum looked on. I then calculated commuting time to London, time taken to get home through Saturday traffic and realised we had to move sharpish.
Now, the biggest challenge was trying to get my mum to speed walk through the maze that is the Ikea market place with all the cutlery, frames and rugs enticing her with their siren call of, “buy me, buy me”. I countered by hissing things like, “hurry up this ticket is worth hundreds”, or whining pleas such as “maaaaa I love you, but please keep moving”. We also had to dodge, duck, dive, dodge the meandering shoppers while weaving our way through aisles.
Queueeeeeed foreva. Beep, beep, beep. Pay. (No I am not buying a bag, instead, watch me juggle carrying all of these precious fragile purchases.) Drive. Home. Get presentable. Walk. Bus. Train. Another Tube. Walk. Phone rings – Isis! Arrived.
The Victoria Palace Theatre has an air of grand magnificence befitting of “Hamilton”. We met outside and went in. There was a little time to spare, so we propped up the bar while being delighted by our opulent surroundings. It was a dream come true. I mean this stuff actually happens. Although thinking back, I bet the fact Isis is named after a goddess probably aided the divine luck of winning those tickets. We were in the second row from the front. Second row. It was up close to the action and pretty dang awesome.
This probably isn’t how you review a musical
The show was a frenzy of energy, dance, and history that I had no idea about. I was in awe at the vigour and verve of the actors as they moved in synchronicity while singing their way through the story. The wooden set with platforms, for the most part, remained the same except for the occasional lighting change and addition of furniture pieces. It was mesmerising, the life of Alexander Hamilton revealed song by song. There was love, war, politics, death and the birth of the United States of America all presented to beats which were a mix of hip hop with r’n’b, along with a dash of pop.
Friendly advice: here be spoilers. If you wish to be surprised by Alexander’s life, click away.
Alexander was a truly fascinating character having come from nothing to be someone who history will never forget. He was born out of wedlock during a time when this was a major social obstacle. But despite this, he managed to climb to the highest echelons of power using his education, marrying money, fighting actual battles, having influencer friends and being a kind of wing-man to the first President of the United States George Washington, and this list isn’t even exhaustive. He was pivoting his career mid 18th century onwards. Pretty neat, right? A pure example of living your best life. His life was filled with achievements but also interestingly, he made a very public declaration about an indiscretion in his private life. It was his best life but by no means was it perfect.
There were two things that truly fascinated me about “Hamilton”. First of all, the mind of Lin Miranda Manual, how could one guy write this? And the second take-away, that I still think about, is that Alexander wrote 51 essays as part of The Federalist Papers to assist in the formalisation of the United States Constitution. 51! I need to update this blog more frequently, I mean Alexander was changing history with the power of the word.
And on that note of writing admiration I will end here with a photo of Isis, I and those winning tickets.