“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ― Sylvia Plath
If you’re reading this having not yet experienced Hamilton, I get it. I stood in the queue a week ago, with an apprehensive niggle… “But am I going to enjoy it as much as everyone tells me to?” Sometimes the wave of hype just looks too big to surf. Suffice to say that I strolled out of the Victoria Palace mollified (and positively Hamil-tonified), whistling all the tunes, debating the facts and ultimately berating myself for launching onto an already crowded bandwagon.
So, what makes Hamilton so engaging?
There’s nothing more rewarding than an unlikely story (or hero, for that matter). Writer, composer and former Hamilton star Lin Manuel Miranda, paints Alexander Hamilton as America’s original underdog:
“How does a bastard, orphan son of a whore
And a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot
In the Caribbean by Providence, impoverished, in squalor
Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?”
Don’t be mistaken, there’s far more to it than a classic rags-to-riches tale. Whilst the story is compelling (albeit a little biased), Hamilton’s real genius lies in its unconventional delivery. The story is told through rap and song. Arguably, a rap opera. A rapra?
It’s a stroke of conventional defiance; historic narrative and period costume, underscored by hip hop beats. We witness the founding fathers of America debating policies through the medium of a rap-battle. Sounds crazy, right? Well, it kind of is, but boy, does it work. In a cautious, movie-musical obsessed world, it’s a miracle that Hamilton ever made it off the page.
Hamilton demonstrates perfectly that history needn’t be dry. Despite its dusty subject matter, it couldn’t be more relevant under a Trump presidency, serving to honour America’s debt to the immigrant. Like it’s protagonist, it’s bold, totally original and a smash-hit in spite of itself. A genuinely more pressing question, “how do I get a ticket?”