And now... Themes, Text Clues and One Thing That Bugged Me.
The Exhibition is set up on a long, twisting path that takes you through different galleries and environments. There are spots where they gather up about 50 visitors and have us all sit and experience the same thing at the same time, but for the most part you wander through on your own, and at your own pace.
If you've ever been to DisneyWorld or Universal where they know people will be standing in really, really long lines for a ride, you kind of know the set up. The line wanders through rooms and settings with animatronic depictions of different scenes and music plays so that people have something to look at while they wait to get to the main attraction. Only, in this case, what you see in the line IS the main attraction.
The staff will tell you that it takes about 90 minutes. Um... no. Not if you actually want to read everything they have and listen to all the narration. I went in at 10:11.
I came out exactly three hours later. So, double the expected time to get through everything.
So this was in the room that covered Alexander's childhood up to the Hurricane. You'll notice that these lyrics are in a much more contemporary 'typewriter' font.
And then there was this (which I spent WAY too much time lining up the statue and the text) in the Duel room. I'll talk more about this in the post about Act II.
My first instinct was that the text was light shining onto the surface, like in this case the base of the pillars. But I noticed after a while that people never got in the way of the lights. So they had to be cut out of the set piece and lit from inside.
And now for the one thing that bugged me... For a show that is so meticulously created and that focuses so much on text and writing... there were some grammar errors in the signs! And, sure in the actual Hamilton quotes, it would be easy to let them go because English didn't get codified until well after his death.
But in the lyrics, I would have expected simple English conventions like periods at the end of a full thought.
Or an ellipses if the thought is being truncated.
Or a semi-colon when two full, but related thoughts are connected.
And it wasn't a style choice, because most of the time they got it exactly right.
The last thing I want to point out before going through the exhibition chronologically were some of the really cool extended metaphors.
Several times, ink is a metaphor for blood.
Here's it's being used to show the vitriol between... well, everyone involved in the election of 1800.
There's a long (and IMHO fairly belabored) comparison of Washington's administration to a circus that I wasn't a huge fan of.
Not that they didn't execute it well, and not that I don't believe there was more than a little chaos caused by the friction between Hamilton and Jefferson... but to me it was a bit over the top.
The last really cool motif I want to point out was this idea that you were literally walking through not only the time, but the words that shaped these events. They call it a "360 degree immersive event" and it really is.
You literally walk through the Declaration of Independence, with the text on the walls and the signatures on the ceiling.
You walk through all the writings that got Alexander in trouble towards the end of his life including the Reynolds Pamphlet and that scathing commentary on John Adams that gets summarized as, "Sit down, John, you fat motherfucker!" in the show.