In January, back when life was more Broadway and nights out than dusting and laundry, I placed a LARGE order for two performances of the new musical Sing Street for our September theater season kick-off. Having heard nothing but wild-eyed and giddy reviews from my friends who got to see it at The Public (lucky), I knew this would be the perfect season opener for the theater group.
Yet I knew nothing of the story besides that it took place in Ireland and there were kids involved. Which is why my answer was an immediate ABSOLUTELY when my daughter’s answer to a question I am asking more than I would like to these days “what do you want to watch tonight?” was “How about Sing Street?” Decision made. (These decisions require much more debate and compromise on any other given evening – happy day!). As the appointed NYC mail pick up representatives, it was girl’s night in the city and we happily settled into our film.
We LOVED it. Most of the car ride back to Montauk we talked through how we would go about turning it into a musical. If I had to summarize, it is a comprehensive 80’s era (the year 1985 to be exact) love letter with a School of Rock/Once/Stand by Me/Bend it Like Beckham/Almost Famous vibe (these happen to be some of my and probably your most favorite movies). We watched it again with the family the very next night. The boys loved it too. I am not sure how you couldn’t love these yet to be fully formed humans bust through their dismal hand of life cards unified and bolstered by their love of creating music and art.
At one point in the movie, the love interest (played by Lucy Boynton pre-Bohemian Rhapsody) asks her underdog suitor to offer up a happy/sad song vs. the sad songs he had been sharing with her. This confounds our budding rock futurist musician who has to seek council from his wiser (and scene-stealing very much like The Rolling Stones editor played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Almost Famous) older brother. After their illuminating conversation, our artist explains happy/sad to his fellow band members when they ask…
“What does happy-sad even mean? How can you be both things? It makes no sense.”
His answer: “It means that I’m stuck in a shithole full of morons and rapists and bullies, and I’m gonna deal with it. Okay? It’s just how life is. I’m going to try and accept it, and get on with it, and make some art.”
Sound like a familiar life state? Our bully is a virus that has us suspended in a perpetual happy-sad state. Think about your happy/sads. Here are three of mine (there are so many more).
- I am happy to have this group. I am sad we cannot gather.
- I am happy to have this windfall of time with my family. I am sad of the circumstances that make this so.
- I am happy to see spring emerge before my eyes in Montauk. I am sad to not know how we will emerge from this bully of a pandemic.
This is a difficult life state which is why we need a movie like Sing Street to remind us that yes things can be grim – life is not all kittens and cupcakes. Acknowledge it. Be sad. Move on. Then get on with it, even if this is nothing you ever expected or wished for and that many things are well beyond your control. Be happy-sad or on some days sad-happy, but get on with it.
I am hoping I am not the last person in America to have seen this movie and that this is not all old news to each of you. If it is, why didn’t anyone tell me!!?? This film was created by John Carney the same guy who gave us ONCE!! Which is how this group got started!!
I am hopeful that we get to experience Sing Street on Broadway as a group in September. It would make me abundantly happy with not a scrap of sad.
Cover Photo explanation: Here I am back in the city with my daughter. I am happy to be with her and back in the city I love so much. Sad to see how much it has changed and that the masks cover up the grins we no doubt have planted on our faces. Happy/Sad. :)/:(