The Emotional Impact Of Not Fully Knowing The Story

My wife took me to see Cabaret recently. I only had a vague idea what it was about. It’s about a cabaret, right? Liza Minnelli starred in a version of it, right? There is a certain fragile comfort in thinking you have some idea what a story is about. It can make the ending a bit more emotionally moving than you expected.

For example, I wasn’t sure going in whether this was set in Paris or Berlin. I thought perhaps Paris. I thought it was amidst WWII, not post WWI as the Nazis were just getting started. I didn’t realize how it was all about leading up to the incredible horrors that were coming. I realized these things slowly as I watched, but only so much. When we got close to the ending and the backdrop pulled back, my stomach literally dropped as I felt the thrum and was blinded by the glare of the furnace (for this version). When the Master of Ceremonies took off his leather overcoat to reveal a concentration camp uniform (again, for this version), my jaw was on the floor.

“I should have warned you it didn’t have a happy ending,” my wife remarked afterward. Well, with something set in the time period where the Nazis were coming to power…how could it? I didn’t expect anything happy, and had plenty of time to correct any misapprehensions on that aspect, but I was still nowhere near prepared.

I think it’s better than I wasn’t prepared. I think it was best to have that kind of emotional impact. It seems like that’s the best way.

About David S. Atkinson

David S. Atkinson enjoys typing about himself in the third person, although he does not generally enjoy speaking in such a fashion. However, he is concerned about the Kierkegaard quote "Once you label me you negate me." He worries that if he attempts to define himself he will, in fact, nullify his existence...
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