"Hello Again" is Michael John LaChuisa
's muscial adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler
's play about sexual intricacies, "La Ronde
" (the latter was recently adapted once again by David Hare
and was featured in the '98-'99 Broadway season starring Nicole Kidman
-"The Blue Room
The original play follows several morally bankrupt characters through a series of sexual encounters and traces the effects of each disconnected encounter down a causal chain of destruction. As one person is wronged they, in turn, corrupt another until all of the characters are as lost as the originator of the series.
LaChuisa's version takes this idea a step further by placing each of the ten scenes in different time periods. The dramatic cohesion of the show is maintained by the presence of the Whore. It is she who begins the process and it is she who inadvertently prompts the character of the Senator to attempt an end. Perhaps the Whore's most striking appearance throughout the show takes place in Scene 5. In this scene a Young Wife is basically forced into sexual intercourse by her husband and, while this is taking place, fantasizes about a man named Tom who she had a brief dalliance with. As she sings of her past exploits, the wife slides from beneath her husband and dances a surreal pas de deux through a mirror with a dark silhouette who the audience can barely make out as the Whore. It is a poignant moment that beautifully demonstrates the duality present, to some degree, in all of our lives. The final scene of the show takes place after a sexual encounter between the Senator and the Whore. Most of the scene is devoted to the Senator's song chronicling the confusion and emptiness he feels as a result of his past experiences. Indeed, it is not until she wakes up next to him that he remembers who he had spent the night with. The Senator, filled with regret, attempts to leave but is beckoned back to the bed as the Whore echoes the words that began the play. As the scene freezes in a tableau every character from the show appears onstage with a haunting repetition of the words "hello again" as they circle each other, still in search of the love that eludes them.