Introduction to Melodrama
Originally posted on ADRAMAOTAKU.COM on May 14, 2009
"It is because I am not afraid to cry that I can smile."
MaouDrama is beautiful. Isn't it? *grin* Not a lot of people can watch drama. Let me rephrase that ... Not a lot of people can appreciate MELOdrama. I absolutely do. Melodrama is one of the great beauties of the world. Simplistically speaking, it's a theatrical genre brought to us in the 18th century. It is a combination of the words "melody" and "drama" and it refers to a kind of theater where music (and mood) is used to really propel or construct an emotional response from the audience to a given character or situation. While Asian drama uses a multitude of evocative resources including music, voiceover, creative framing, and more, it is still essentially very well crafted melodrama; much better than anything we have here in the United States.
TriangleMelodrama in the United States is really a dying genre. This is a real shame because there is such beauty in being swept away emotionally, carried into a new emotional level by a moment, a piece of music, or a well delivered line. I think Americans tend to find melodrama cheesy, or it's simply become "chick flicks" or "Lifetime Movie Network" writing. I think that anyone who does think this is generally emotionally devoid or incredibly closed off. If it is no where in your character to be able to let go of yourself and simply be lead to feel ... then you probably have nothing but fear in your heart.
Q.E.DTo watch, appreciate, and to truly enjoy melodrama is to be in unsafe territory ... vulnerable territory. It means that one has to really allow themselves to be open and honest about their own emotional levels and not experience the medium from behind an armored shield. To be able to laugh, cry, empathize, and understand people are crucial emotional skills that you need to be healthy in life as well as successful in your enjoyment of melodrama. The hardworking actors, writers, directors, producers, dedicated fansubbers and RAW providers out there did not do all that work, write all those lines, act all those scenes, translate all those lines, and create all that content just so you can to sit back, a million miles from the emotional experience, and feel nothing. If you can't feel then don't watch. What would be the point? Why turn on the show just to pull away from it and watch unaffected and cynical and too bitter to feel what you should?
LifeTruly watching melodrama is about nothing that you bring to what is being presented. The melodrama is meant to present something to you ... a portraiture of emotional rivers that run against one another, cross each other, and sometimes merge together. Will your fear be the damn that blocks it? Or will you allow those waters to wash over you and carry you away to beautiful, complex, and enlightening emotional shores ... Open your heart and let's begin our journey.