A night out with the Old Sailor,

Dear Bloggers,

Sometimes I have these brilliant ideas to go a night out with my wife, but when you are having two kids not old enough to stay on their own.
You need to organize things on forehand.
And this is not easy when you are like me, and right away I say yes to a spontaneous idea.
Ok, everything turned out the right way.
Although I need to thank a lot of people for this great support and cooperation they al gave. We had the opportunity to have a look behind the scenes of the musical Sunset Boulevard.

First of all I will revert to the movie.
Sunset Boulevard is typical of Billy Wilder's penchant for risky subject matter, but it's also more visually appealing than some of his films combined.
It's a film that succeeds on many levels of production; the script is intricate and boldly conceived (if at times melodramatic), the set design is marvelous, Wilder's direction is fluent, and the lighting and camera movements are stately.
Aside from these concrete elements, the film also seduces the viewer into its own special world that is rather indescribable; if you don't believe me, bad luck and I wonder if you have seen it.

Last night we went to the musical version.
The music has been composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber another big name in musical world.(Jesus Christ superstar, phantom of the opera, cats, and Evita.)
Although musical is not really my thing as I am not that good at sitting still for a long time.
We were invited to come and see the show, we were allowed to use the foyer were the cast is having their break and the artist entrance.
My wife did not know anything about it and for her it was a big surprise.
The only thing she knew was that we were going out for diner and that her work schedule was changed.
(A lot of organizing for me behind the scenes, but that is the toll that you pay when you are a hopeless romantic like me.)

Norma Desmond (Simone Kleinsma) and Joe Gillis (Antonie Kamerling)
It is of course something special when you are being so close to the star players, not everybody gets this chance.
I really have to say we had a great night out and the musical is absolutely catching.
As my wife had no pre information about the story as she did not see the movie, or could pre read on internet about it.
Within 5 minutes you are being dragged into the story.

Betty Schaeffer (Maike Boerdam - Strobel)

Well let me give a short impression about the story:
In a passage that is pure Golden Age Hollywood, screenwriter Joe Gillis (Antonie Kamerling) escapes his shadowy creditors to the side of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles where he unearths the crumbling mansion of the equally crumbling, self-proclaimed silent film "star" Norma Desmond (Simone Kleinsma/Pia Douwes).
However, her problem is that she hasn't come to accept the reality of her current situation, which manifests itself into the several misshapen aspects of her life: the "fan letters" she believes she receives (but which are actually sent by her butler Max, another has-been filmmaker, played by Peter de Smet), the general otherworldliness of her mansion, which seems to be fusing into the shrubbery that surrounds it, or the lack of locks on her vast doors as a safeguard for Max in the instance of a possible suicide attempt.
"I am big. It's the pictures that got small,"
While her personal corruption seems to be associated with her loss of fame and aging body, Gillis is on the opposite side of the spectrum.
He's a writer who has frequently been on the cusp of a big hit, but whose minor failures have progressively made him more and more cynical.
When asked by Norma to assist her in writing her script, he jumps at the opportunity, being well aware of the status she had reached as an actress.
Creepily however, Norma takes hold of Gillis, scrutinizing his every move, an action that eventually turns for the worst when Gillis begins a love affair with Betty Schaeffer an engaged script reader played by Maike Boerdam.
When ambition runs in Sunset Boulevard, self-absorption is not far behind.
Gillis seems to lose his identity, grabbing hold of the promise of money over a more worthwhile situation.

"The Butler" Max von Mayerling (Peter de Smet)

A very deep and sad story but I was absolutely impressed by the musical, so I like to applaud all of you.
A great piece of art made by all of you.
I am normally not that impressed by the Dutch translations of top songs but you could feel that it was performed with a lot of passion.
The original movie Sunset Boulevard is certainly one of the most handsome productions of the 50's, and Wilder's knack for weaving a complex psychological tale while also keeping his taboos close to mind is undeniable.

Anyway we had a great night out.

The Old Sailor,


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