Saturday, February 18, 2017

Dear Evan Hansen and Guy Friends


From the Playbill
Recently I was introduced to the musical "Dear Evan Hansen". A brief synopsis of the plot is that a socially introverted high schooler is assigned to write positive letters to himself by his therapist. Another social introvert and drug abuser finds one of his letters that mentions his sister and takes the letter. A day later the stoner kills himself and the letter the introvert wrote is believed to be the kids suicide note. The parents believe that introvert was their son's only friend, and so as not to add to their pain, introvert plays along and fabricates a relationship with the stoner.

The Liar Revealed 
Friends who cosplay together stay together
Its your basic liar revealed story, in the company of Aladdin, the Beautician and the Beast, and The Talented Mr. Ripley, but the thing that I keep thinking about is this one song in the play titled "For Forever". At this point Introvert is trying to explain his secret friendship to the stoner's parents, so he gives an example of the perfect day he had with the stoner. Usually this is the point in the story where the liar has to make up some lies on the spot in order to keep from being caught and is usually played for laughs but here it’s done in a different way. Earlier we found out that before the story started the Introvert broke his arm climbing a tree, and so throughout the play he is seen in a cast. In his story to the stoners parents, he talks about wandering the woods with his best friend and them climbing the tree together and him accidentally falling with his friend immediately finding him and being there. The song paints the picture of a beautiful day between two guy friends. This was the first song I heard from the play, and at the time I just thought it was a beautiful song about two male friends, something rarely heard anywhere in music without the undercurrent of “No Homo”.

An Imagined Friendship
Nothing is better than a summer day with a friend
The idea of this imaginary friendship painted so beautifully intrigued me.  It’s revealed later in the play *SPOILER WARNING* that Introvert didn’t fall out of the tree, but actually jumped in his own attempt to commit suicide. So here we have him telling a story about this perfect day with a friend and in the process changing the narrative of his own real life story from being one of desperation and sadness to one of boyhood adventure. It makes me believe that the lie isn’t just to pacify the parents but is the kind of relationship Introvert actually wants. He wanted a perfect day. He wanted to be found in the woods by someone who loved him.

What Every Man Needs


Former MG writer and I
I wonder what the story would’ve been if the two characters had been friends in real life. If they’d looked past their differences and saw each other as two lonely young men in need of a true friend, a person to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, or even just someone to spend time with. I look at my own life at all the people I met in passing and judged them to be out of my league as far as friendship is concerned, or even worse, below me. I remember the imaginary friendships I made the times I was lonely and wonder if anyone made those imaginary friendships with me. It makes me want to take a good hard look at my world and ask “Who’s missing? Who needs to be found?”
Even Aang gets photobombed
#youwillbefound

-JOE

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