Lors de la séance du 24 février, Anouk Bottero nous a parlé de la nuit dans la comédie musicale Caroline or Change de Tony Kushner et Jeanine Tesori (2004). Anouk Bottero prépare actuellement une thèse à Sorbonne Université, intitulée “Le corps féminin dans les comédies musicales américaines, de la fin de l’âge d’or à nos jours” sous la direction d’Élisabeth Angel-Perez.
Voici un abstract de sa communication :
“Moon Change”: Night Scenes and the Collision of the Personal and the Political in Tony Kushner’s Caroline or Change (2004)
The sung-through musical Caroline, or Change, written by American playwright Tony Kushner with music by Jeanine Tesori, garnered much critical acclaim when it first opened on Broadway in 2004. Set in 1963 Louisiana, the play tells the story of Caroline, a Black maid, and her interactions with eight-year-old Noah, the young son of the rich Jewish family she works for. An unlikely subject for a genre mostly considered as the epitome of mainstream theatre, the political context of the Civil Rights movement nonetheless seeps through the show tunes and permeates the personal story of Caroline. Such interweaving is echoed through the many night scenes that punctuate the play, and during which the personal and the political, the intimate lives of the characters and the great unfolding of History collide. Therefore, this paper will approach the staging of the night in Caroline, or Change as the creation of an in-between temporality that sheds light on these conflicting dynamics. Often watched over by a Moon-like figure who acts as an antique chorus set to blues and Motown music, night scenes indeed seem to confront the individual temporality of the characters and the implacable temporality of historical events that have shaped contemporary America. The title of the musical itself plays on this unlikely collision: a pun on the word “change”, it refers both to Noah’s pocket money that Caroline finds when she does the laundry and to the stream of political events happening in the background—or sometimes, in the foreground. Both a revelatory moment of stasis which allows for powerful performances of the self, and the manifestation of the unstoppable change Caroline so adamantly resists, night in Caroline, or Change offers a particularly fruitful point of entry into this particular musical, as well as into contemporary evolutions of the genre.