Paper 3 - 20488204 Theater R1A Section 6 Paper 3...

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20488204 Theater R1A, Section 6 October 15, 2009 Paper # 3: Multiculturalism in Rent After thirteen years of performing on Broadway, Rent has become a phenomenon. It follows the lives of poverty-stricken characters in the slums of New York struggling with the AIDS epidemic. Equipped with high energy actors, captivating story lines, and eloquently written music, Rent attempts to remove the blinders of its audience. It compels the audience not only to tear down the racial barrier but also to see past its colorblindness. Rent preaches its audience to acknowledge and celebrate race rather than having it become a tabooed issue. For the purposes of this paper, I will explicate the scene “La Vie Boheme” from the motion picture Rent released in 2005. Through the use of ethnically diverse actors, colorful imagery, and explicit musical numbers, Rent encourages the coexistence of multiple cultures in harmony. Most explicitly, Rent tackles the issue of multiculturalism in the use of its diverse cast. In “La Vie Boheme,” all the main characters, played by an ethnically diverse ensemble, coexists in one performance space. In this scene, Mark, Roger, Mimi, Collins, Angel, Maureen, and Joanne share a table at a restaurant. All gather as a friendly gesture to celebrate the success of their friend’s protest. Two Caucasian male actors portray the roles of Mark and Roger, and Maureen appears to belong to a Jewish family. Moreover, African Americans perform the characters of Collins and Joanne. Mimi and Angel’s ethnicity are not as discernable, but Angel’s slight tan and Mimi’s considerable brown complexion suggests they are of different backgrounds from the rest of the group. The characters sit and dance around a long connected table—all laughing and smiling—while harmonizing to the song “La Vie Boheme.” The ability to harmonize symbolizes the tranquil integration occurring in the given space between these different cultures. Furthermore, within this group of friends, interracial, romantic 1
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This note was uploaded on 11/23/2009 for the course THEATER R1A taught by Professor Steen during the Fall '08 term at Berkeley.

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Paper 3 - 20488204 Theater R1A Section 6 Paper 3...

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