What does the music do for this play?
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Unfortunately, I have never heard the music in a production.
The music adds to the romantic nature of the play, romantic in the sense of a lovely vision or ideal state of the circumstances the characters are in. As Shakespeare has put it, :"If music be the food of love, play on". It's not coincidental then that the music is related to passion, for dancing, for a woman, and for music itself. It is also significant that the music chosen is derived from largely African-American traditions, hence, providing the promise of achievement and recognition, which the blacks in apartheid South Africa are deprived of. Finally, music brings comfort to the soul, like the words of the last song, lulling the heart to rest, leaving the pain of the day's proceedings behind. So while there is much to be miserable about in the circumstances of Willie and Sam, they find a way to be happy, and that makes a big statement about independence, a rebellion of sorts.