Friday, July 9, 2010

Singing Along to "Grease" in the Movie Theatre

Last night, we went to a Grease Sing-Along. It's the movie, in a traditional movie theatre, but each time there's a song, the lyrics appear, karaoke style, and the audience sings along. What fun, to be allowed, no encouraged, to sing in the movie theatre. What fun to revisit this movie. Our movie theatre also had an acting troupe who acted out some of the movie, a la The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I worried I might find it distracting, but I basically couldn't see it. Still, I loved the fact that there are young actors out there who want to do such a thing, to act out a movie that came out years before they were born.

I talked to one woman who said this was the 78th time she had seen this movie in the movie theatre (the only movie she had seen more than Grease was Star Wars). I, on the other hand, haven't seen the movie since it was in movie theatres back in 1978. It seems strange that with cable T.V. and videos and DVDs, that I wouldn't have seen it again, but I haven't.

I had forgotten how full of sex the movie is, and how full of sexual innuendo. When I saw it, the summer before 8th grade, I think that a lot of the sexy stuff flew right over my head. Yes, I had read Judy Blume's Forever, and I had read all those 1970's sex-positive books to help kids learn about their bodies, but the actual act was something I could just barely comprehend. Watching the movie again as an adult, I'm kind of shocked at the treatment of women; I didn't remember that aspect. I thought the movie captured very well that late adolescent stage where humans who are essentially children are making that transition to adulthood, figuring out how to treat each other, how to interact.

I had also forgotten how homosocial the movie is. That scene where the male actors are singing "Greased Lightning"--very sexy, very campy, very male bonding over vehicles.

Very strange too, to see these actors in their younger versions of themselves, to know what's going to happen to them later. The scene where Danny is trying to grope Sandy's bosom, and the knowledge that Olivia Newton-John would later battle breast cancer--it felt so disconcerting to me.

The soundtrack is so singable. I loved being in that theatre, hearing our voices swell above the soundtrack. I have listened to the soundtrack again and again in the 3 decades since the movie came out (on vinyl and CD--no MP3 yet) and have memorized the lyrics. Ah, the joys of repetition.

I also loved going to see this show because our theatre is one of 17 locations in the country where it's being shown. Periodically, I try to do things that I can only do down here, just to remind myself that I really do like living down here. I also try to break my routine of coming home from work and vegging on the sofa whilst watching bad television. Going out on a weeknight made me feel so adult, even if it was to go to a campy version of a movie from my late childhood/early adolescence (real grown ups would go to a wine tasting or something). It was a treat to eat popcorn for dinner while watching a quintessential summer flick.

Now it's back to work. Today is our last day of in-service days before the quarter starts on Monday. I've had lots of days of meetings, and I'm looking forward to a day that's less structured today. Maybe I can get organized a bit more, get readjusted to being back on land, back in the office.

1 comment:

Kells said...

I cannot tell you how many times I've seen grease, but I would love to see it in a theater and sing along. I remember my daughter wanting to see it the same age I was when I saw it-- 2nd or 3rd grade and thinking it was way too inappropriate!