Thursday, July 30, 2009

This Girl

By bizarre coincidence, I have recently used the words iconic, ironic, and bionic in the last 48 hours. Such things haunt me, and I wonder whether the use of the first one potentiated the second and third in my memory. That gets me to thinking about the nature of triple rhymes, which quite naturally - if you were a theater major - sets one to thinking about Cole Porter, Noel Coward, and Stephen Sondheim. What would they do with such interesting connected words?

I decided after short experiment that "bionic" was just going to be too ridiculous to work in, but that I just had to do something with that ironic-iconic similarity. And so the American Musical Theater version of what must happen with those words.

Near the end of the first act. One of the big numbers in the show, rather a Torch Song setting up. Preceding this the man and the woman have met and fallen in love. They have just had an argument about some misunderstanding, which the audience knows the truth of but the characters do not – a mistaken identity, an innocent meeting that looks like unfaithfulness, something like that. It all comes round in the end, when he realises that the other man was her brother, or she learns that the rakish cad is actually his twin. But for now, she has discovered him going through her suitcase – he was looking for something that will become important to resolving the misunderstanding – and she has chased him off angrily. He leaves a shoe behind in his haste. Why his shoe was off is one of the comic bits of the show. Discouraged, disappointed, she picks up the shoe and begins the introduction to a world-weary song. The introduction is nearly spoken, eighth notes on the same pitch until “fit” and “bit” go up in pitch.
Cinderella’s slipper was the fit – iconic
That her fella’s shoe is all that’s left ‘s a bit – ironic
Happy-end fairy tales ‘round the world
Why not (pause) THIS GIRL? (Music swells)

Now the door closes for THIS GIRL (audience applause)
No red roses for this girl
Shallow and twittering fools get a guy
So the shelf’s empty for those such as I...
Some parts of AMT really aren't that hard. Let me tell you what the reality would have been, though. Sondheim would have shamelessly worked in "bionic" anyway, regardless of the violence it did to the sense of the song. Porter would have thrown in some foreign phrase that rhymed with something that was just devastatingly better than anything I came up with. And Coward would have been more reserved, as I was, but much better. L&L, R&H, I think mine holds up pretty well.


gcotharn said...

I love words. I love the sound of them. Yesterday, I got to use "Koozie" in a Beer Summit post, then "Koozie floozie" in the comments. A good day. A Koozie floozie doozy of a day.

kreiz1 said...

Fortunately you avoided talking to a geologist about plate tetonics.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

porter could have managed it smoothly. Not I.

raf said...