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The Importance of Chasing a Dream according to City of Songs by John Voetsch

Posted by on Friday, November 20, 2015 in News.

I am not a usual theatre-goer. I prefer TV shows and movies, as well as contemporary concerts, like Jay-Z or Avicii. Despite my lack of experience in theatre, I found that I really enjoyed City of Songs, performed by Vanderbilt University students. I found the play to be extremely entertaining with its mix of music and acting, constant changing of scenes, a great overall plot with sub-plots mixed in. One thing in particular that I enjoyed about this play is its lack complexity. Everyone did a great job of making everything clear and entertaining for someone like me, who does not have as strong of an ability to enjoy a play that is more complex. I was able to follow along easily, and this made me enjoy the play even more. Well done to everyone who was involved with the making of this play, I am glad I went.

Moving on to the more analytical side of this blog post, I found that there were multiple messages being delivered by this play. The message that I found most interesting in this play is how it describes the importance of chasing a dream. City of Songs shows the audience that happiness can be correlated to chasing one’s dream. First, let’s start with the parents. The parents in this play moved to this country with a dream of pursuing a better life for their family. They worked hard every single day at Burger Bomb for years in order to provide for their family and keep them in a land full of opportunities. Even with the store being foreclosed, we still see happiness in the parents because they chased their dream. They found the love of their life, have a great family and are making money in the United States. Even if they are forced to move their dream will not die. Their displayed happiness is contagious to the audience. The band also displays this theme. While the drummer may be mean at times and the piano player does get frustrated at one point, they display an overall happiness. They love the music they play and show this through their performances. Even though they have not seen much success yet, they are all happy chasing their dream. Next, we will discuss the son. The son of the family works extremely hard and easily does the most to keep the restaurant afloat. We never really learn what his dream is, but even though he states how important the restaurant is to him, it is clear to me that is not his dream. He cares more about the family than the restaurant and uses the restaurant to protect his family. He works himself to the bone not to keep the restaurant going, but he believes he is working to keep his family going. While this is noble, he is constantly unhappy through almost the entire play. It is clear to me that a point is being made that the only character truly unhappy in this play is the one who does not have a true dream. I believe that he is lying to himself. He works really hard to save the restaurant and his family, but I believe that he is afraid to chase something. He is afraid of failure. He is afraid to put himself out there and not be accepted by the world. He uses the restaurant as a shield, because the restaurant is expected to fail, thus he has nothing to lose. His fear drives his unhappiness. Deep down, he knows he could do more, but by holding himself back, it eats away at him, and causes his unhappiness. Lastly, the daughter is a perfect example of this message. She is unhappy whenever she is stuck in the restaurant. When she is working at Burger Bomb, she is constantly annoyed and upset, and argues with her parents and brother constantly. However, she always seems excited almost when she has a test or has to study for college classes. Finally, we see her true happiness when the musical opportunity arises. She joins the band, and it is as if we see a different character. She brings more love into Burger Bomb, and displays a stronger confidence and happiness with her personality. She has an incredible gift, and finds true happiness chasing this dream of singing, cultivating with an incredible, profiting concert, where she lives her dream and shares her music with the world.

This theme of the importance in chasing your dreams stood out the most to me. I am at the stage in my life where I am close to joining the real world and having to fend for myself. I have dreams, but I also have fears. I am at times scared to be fully responsible for myself and forced to go out, put myself out there and try to live a full, happy life. This play is very motivational in showing how dreams and happiness can truly come out of nowhere. The daughter found her opportunity by waitressing on a random group of people, and humming in a lovely tone without realizing she was being noticed. I also really liked the way the son was portrayed in this play because I saw him as a cautionary tale. He represents the people who just believe in working to make money and provide, but not to live life to the fullest. He represents how these kind of people will hit a stall, and never find happiness because they accepted being unhappy. I believe that it is extremely important for all of us to chase our dreams and only do things that will make us happy. We only live once, so we must find what makes us happy, and never stop chasing that happiness.


2 Comments on “The Importance of Chasing a Dream according to City of Songs by John Voetsch”

I strongly resonate with your interpretation of “City of Songs”. Although the play is clearly about Nashville, the changing economic situation and its various undesired ramifications on a specific subset of the population, I think that the play transcends these issues and speaks out to us about a broader message of something like the weak individual vs. a powerful society. I think it highlights to us the difficulty in standing up against the irresistible and inevitable change of surrounding situations through the portrayal of the Albanian Firari family members as they struggle in a transforming city of Nashville.
However, more importantly, through many of the character’s pursuit of their dreams and subsequent development despite difficult circumstances as highlighted in your post, the play teaches and encourages the audience of the theatre in a way to not to surrender and to put up a fight against the coming change or whatever obstacles we may face. The uplifting ending also helps us recognize that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel in every hardship and keeps us motivated to follow our dreams and not let our surroundings deter us from pursuing them.

Yusuke Kishima on December 4th, 2015 at 1:36 pm

I think this play can speak to any audience. I believe this because there are many themes involved in the play as you have mentioned. One theme that I found interesting was between change and being the same. The brother and the whole family had strong ties to their Albanian roots while the daughter seemed to be very American. In addition to finding a dream and something to work for, I think the brother finds it hard to support his sister because she is “becoming American”. The theme of chasing ones dream is what allows the parents to be happy for their daughter, even though she may be something different than what they are. Through this story we learn about family, dreams, friendships, and taking chances on something that may be different and unknown. However, we learn that if we keep pressing forward and believing in what we want in life, things will usually work in our favor.

Morgan Batey on December 7th, 2015 at 6:46 pm

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