Of all the roles in the world, I fantasise playing Christine Daaé the most, in the perennial favourite The Phantom of the Opera by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
I'm a sap, I know, but hers was the first singing role I ever heard- and loved. Now that I'm older and more cynical, I can dismiss the role as weak, unfulfilled and having no driving force in the show.
But the heart is quite separate from the head, and mine fills her life with my own. My own need to be seen as a beauty, a singer, a gift to be unwrapped and adored. My own need to fire the passion in another to change their lives forever.
Besides, she has a journey to make, a life to find and music that is challenging yet melodic and singable.
A year later, I bought Carmen on CD, and found a fiery tough woman at the centre of life, who set flames raging through men, and ultimately perished in her own pyre.
Who could resist the chance to be Carmen, Jones or otherwise.
And she is the contrast to the sweet innocent Micaela, my acquired namesake.
It seems tragic women are the majority in opera, and in musical theatre it is the opposite. Yet when classic English literature is the inspiration, the rules are turned, and it is the lively, flawed and irrepressible Nancy in Oliver! that dies senselessly. I may be masochistic, yet how can I not desire to live her passion for even one evening?
Mary Magdalene, in another Andrew Llyod Webber classic is the tart with heart who gains salvation, but loves the man behind the God.
Eliza Doolittle a self wish-fulfilling Cinderella, finds her fairy godmother has his own agenda. There seems to be trend here for playing women manipulated by men.
Fantine «Les Miserablés» can be seen like this, Rosa Bud «Mystery of Edwin Drood» likewise.
So perhaps it's suprising to prefer the role of Emma in Jekyll and Hyde over Lucy. Sure she is a genuine, sweet woman, yet there is a line she sings that calls to me:
I'm not the weak young thing you're seeking Simon,
Someone seventeen obedient and sweet.
I'm not the protege to waste your time on,
the actress hopes.....
Lady Macbeth, Titania, Helena, Lear, Ophelia, Cleopatra, Puck, Ariel, Katerina the Shrew are the few Shakespeare roles I covet. Yes, Lear is a male role, you did not read it wrong. I would love to play him, or all of the other roles in the play, together. For this is the way he sees himself, alone against a sea of faces that appear different but reveal the same betrayal underneath.
The Greek tragedies are too full of interesting woman such as Cassandra, Helen, Antigone to be bound by a few wishes. I will leave them with the many other Shakespeare roles, unsaid but to be dreamed about.
The Gut Girls has many emotional, provoking cries from the now mute voices of women generations ago.
Lizzy Bennett is about the only Austen character I truly love 100%. Many others annoy me, or I've simply not found their spirit fulfilling. Anne Eliot is the only other that comes to mind.
Jane Eyre appeals to the lost soul in me. Having played lesser roles- yes, lesser, all characters in the novel serve as momentary mirrors to her main character, in fact one feels that all the other characters are bits of her soul made physical- I'd love to get a chance to play this complex simple woman.
Eowyn is one of the few fantasy characters I dream of playing, yet the one unforgetable change to play her will go to an already well known. $300 million is riding on the series, no one will put that to risk with an untested woman from New Zealand. So close, yet never to reach.
Elizabeth I is an enigma never to be fully understood, but haunted by her mothers death by the order of her father. First born but last to touch the throne of her siblings.
I fought to the end to portray her on the eve of the millennium, and won. There was a price, but it was purely material.
An unfinished list by its very nature bound to change as I reread plays I was too young to understand, and new works come into possession.