i_have_so _much_work_to_do
Last update
2023-06-06 10:55:27

    You know

    I don't have a lot positive to say about the re-staged version of the ALW musical.

    But I will admit I do kind of like the fact that Raoul barges into Christine's dressing room as she's undressing.

    I like this because, on the surface its very ha ha, so awkward uwu, but it also highlights how very scandalous this very action is.

    In 19th century theatre culture (especially in France) there's only one reason a man (the patron of the Opera, who is the main financial backer of the establishment) goes into a singer's dressing room with a bottle of champagne. Whether that is Raoul's intention doesn't matter: he's a man of society, he's the responsible one here, or he should be.

    But setting that aside, this really makes me think about how Raoul is never thinking about Christine in a circumspect fashion. He is not thinking about the fact that this is a private area he is entering uninvited--a private area that is private for the very specific reason: at any point, Christine could very well be naked or otherwise in a state of vulnerability and/or undress behind that door. He does not knock, or announce himself. He either is not thinking about this or does not care. Both are bad.

    (And yes I am conscious of the fact that Christine is not only undressing, but undressing in front of the mirror; the mirror that Erik is, in all likelihood, hiding behind, even as she does so).

    To Raoul, as much as (perhaps even more so than) to Erik, Christine is an object. An object to be, by turns, admired, pitied, placated and protected.

    Perhaps I find this so interesting because in the book, Raoul is shown to invade the sanctum samctorum of Christine's dressing room without her knowledge or consent several times.

    "When you were pitying him the other night, the night of the masked ball. When you came into your dressing room, didn't you say 'Poor Erik'? Well Christine, there was Poor Raoul who overheard you!"

    "That is the second time you have listened at my door, M. de Chagny!"

    "I was not at your door! I was in the dressing room! In your boudoir, mademoiselle!"

    An interesting contrast to Erik, who, in spite of abducting Christine, holding her against her will etc. always knocks three times on her door before entering her bedroom in the house by the lake, and gives her his word that in that apartment and in her dressing room she is assured of privacy from him.

    "How can you believe yourself safer here in the theatre?" Raoul asked. "If you can hear him through the walls, then he can certainly hear us."

    "No. He gave me his word that he would not be behind the walls of my dressing room again, and I trust Erik's word. My dressing room and my room in the house by the lake are mine exclusively, and are sacred to him.

    Also very interesting to me is that on my fourth read of various English translations of the book [1911, 1911 restored, 1990 Lowell Bair, and 1996 Leonard Wolf] there is never any indication that I've noticed that Christine's mirror is two-way glass. It does not slide to the side as depicted in movies/ the musical. The mirror is built into the wall itself and turns with the wall on a pivot like a revolving door. There is never any mention of him looking at her through the mirror, only listening and speaking to her through her walls.