I heard the actress Alice Ripley do a solo version of this song in concert last weekend, and while of course it’s way over-dramatic (it is a musical, after all!) some of the themes resonated for me. I’d known that Side Show was sort of a cult classic musical, but after seeing that song performed I went on a Youtube and Spotify spree and finally realized how incredibly poignant the show was – both for people who have differences, and those who feel different.
I guess that’s one thing that always fascinates me so much about art having to do with differences and disabilities: that it appeals to such a broad audience.
Because what we feel as people with differences is actually, if you think about it, so similar to what “normal” people facing normal life circumstances feel. We’re (or society) is so quick to attribute everything to differences, to unique circumstances, to life trauma. And to a certain extent, that is valid. But as I’ve grown and really started to think about it, few things in my life are absolutely defined by having been born with Moebius syndrome. Everything else is a product of chance, of bad luck, of the interactions between life forces. Was it influenced by the fact that I have Moebius? Sure. But honestly I think the interaction between everything, including Moebius, was most influential.
And I think that is what I appreciate about Side Show: it is about women who happen to be conjoined twins, but also about what they do with themselves and life choices in the face of difference. Just difference itself isn’t worthy of praise or dramatic retellings: it’s what you do with what you’re dealt that is worthy of exploration.