POST: 'Doctor Zhivago' I champion love, but at what cost?

Kelli Barrett and Tam Mutu in  Doctor Zhivago  on Broadway. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Kelli Barrett and Tam Mutu in Doctor Zhivago on Broadway. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Are people designed to be monogamous, or does passion lead us to seek the exciting paramour that life is keeping from us?  

I'm tempted to describe Doctor Zhivago as a beautifully written love story as it was described by the playbill, but I simply didn't see that.  As an audience member I felt uncomfortable watching a married man heroicized for overcoming extreme odds to pursue his mistress as opposed to reuniting with his wife and young son.  What further upset me was that his wife yielded to the mistress simply to secure her husband's happiness.  I struggle right now because I strongly champion love, but at what cost?  A grim story is told in this musical and merely adorned with well-composed lyrics, beautiful dance sequences , and precise set transitions.

At one point towards the end of the performance an elderly woman began to yell out loudly causing the show to stop briefly as she was escorted out for her disruptive behavior.  What many dismissed as a mere drunken rage or mental break, I see as an honest emotional response.  She yells " Oh really? What are you doing? Stop that!", and I find myself agreeing.  What was happening onstage?  I am upset to have been sitting for 3 hours to see a finale where not only does Zhivago's wife concede, but his mistress' lovers, Victor Kamarovsky (her childhood benefactor) and Pasha Antipov (her fiancé who started a war for her), do as well.  A man who starts a war for the love of his life to merely accept that she loves another so he kills himself... just feels inconsistent and made me desire an alternative ending.  

All of that said, sitting in the audience put me in a pensive mood.  

When is it an appropriate time to get married and what are the sacrifices that come along with marriage? In the case of Doctor Zhivago, he married his wife Tonia because they were best friends, nearly siblings, they grew up in the same house and were of the same social class.  Marriage in that situation seemed to be an obligatory affair, but then again one should always aspire to marry their best friend.  So what happens when someone else enters and ignites a spark in a married person's life?  Should we be committed for life or are we as people able to live in a society where we can pursue absolute happiness, even if that comes at the risk of breaking a sacred covenant? Is it okay to admit and are we able to admit, that sometimes in life when it comes to matters of love, we get it wrong?


$35 General Rush

Doctor Zhivago
Broadway Theatre
thru May 10