This troper only just figured out a pun in the title song. The line is "it reaches way down deep and tears you inside out til you're torn apart! RENT!" I thought they were just shouting out the name of the song/show, but they're also defining the term "rent" — as in, torn apart (like in "rent asunder"). Considering the way the cast falls apart, it's an apt term.
Yep, apparently Billy Aronson, who had the idea of reworking La Boheme to make RENT, didn't like the name until Larson pointed out it has that double meaning.
And in "I'll Cover You," Angel sings that he'll charge Collins rent of one thousand sweet kisses. So love is a form of rent, as well.
Also the concept of renting or borrowing time as most of the characters' lives will be cut short by AIDS.
The first time I listened to "Your Eyes", I found it touching, but terribly predictable and full of clichés in the lyrical sense. Especially if one considers that it took Roger no less than a year to write it. Then it hit me, the song was written in character. Maybe Roger is just not the songwriter Larson was. He does refer to himself as "the pretty boy frontman" of his rock band in "One Song Glory". Maybe he wasn't a songwriter to begin with, hence why he had such a difficulty finding inspiration when he picked up the guitar.
You can even take it a step further into horror. Roger wants to write a song before he dies so he'll be remembered after he's gone. But he's not a good songwriter at all. He's not going to be remembered, because he's not important or special enough to be.
But you can take it a step into happiness, too. If he keeps getting inspiration, maybe he will become a better songwriter. Mimi got him out of the house, she got him to feel happy (just look in the 2008 proshot cast of how he acts during "Happy New Year" when he's singing to Mimi)... she got him to write a song. It's not great, but it isn't horrible to the ear and it's a start.
Back into horror — it's a start, yes... for someone who has 20 years to live if he's lucky?!? "It's a start" may not be good enough.
"La Vie Boheme" is French for "the Bohemian Life". What restaurant does the cast sing this song in? The Life Cafe.
If Angel died on October 31, and "Seasons of Love B" is an interlude set around April (an earlier version of the script specifies that the events of the following song, "Without You," take place in April), Angel only made it about 308,000 (and not 525,000) "Seasons of Love" into the new year.
Roger's girlfriend who killed herself was named April, so he's mourning for April (the spring of his life) in December (the winter of his life). It's quite poetic, which is fitting for someone like Roger.
Mark seems like an Ungrateful Bastard for quitting his tabloid job, but considering he has the footage to make a groundbreaking (it's only 1990, after all) docudrama on people living with AIDS, then his film could potentially be a major success, meaning he'd need all his spare time to do as much research as possible before cutting it together and finding a buyer.
There's a simpler explanation: he burned out. He needed the work to pay the bills, but his heart and soul wasn't in so the daily grind wore him out. To rediscover his passion, he quit to finish making the film.
In the original New York Theatre Workshop version of Rent, it is heavily implied that everything in "Without You" takes place in the month of April, by Maureen in Voice Mail #3 (the song right before it), where she says, "April is the cruelest month".
When Collins says that he was expelled from MIT for his theory of actual reality, he paints it as they're just being closed-minded and acting like douchebags. But then you hear from Angel in "La Vie Boheme" just how he expressed that theory: blowing up school equipment that probably costed thousands of dollars to create. No wonder he was fired! (Not that he had bad ideas, of course, but unless you wanna give a big "fuck you" to whoever you're working for, you miiiight not wanna do that.)
Probably not intentional, but when Mimi, the self-proclaimed "feline of Avenue B", sings "take me out tonight", the emphasis is such that "me out" sounds like "me-ow".
Maureen has a running "moon" motif: she sings "Over The Moon", she "more than mooned" over other boys, and she moons everyone in "La Vie Boheme"... I don't know what this means, but it's a thing.
The moon is perceived as dark feminine, fickle, and ever-changing.
Evita is described as yappy, which is usually associated with small dog breeds, but Akitas are fairly large. She could very well have been a puppynote which borders on Fridge Horror for dog lovers. However, Akitas are very expensive. Given how obnoxiously rich Benny and Alison are, they may have gotten Evita just to be trendy/show off their wealth, and didn't really bother with training her. Plus, keeping an Akita in a 23rd story apartment is a really unwise idea, as they need a lot of exercise and roomy living space. Evita must have had a lot of pent-up energy.
At the first Life Support meeting, the leader asks Mark for his name and happily asks him to sit down. Mark at first stumbles while explaining he doesn't have AIDS but sits eventually after giving his name. It turns out the leader knew that a friend may need as much support as they watch the ones they love die.
"Will I?" involves everyone asking, "Will I lose my dignity? Will someone care? Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?" It proves to be Foreshadowing: Angel loses no dignity, and her friends mourn her after she dies; sadly, she doesn't wake up. Mimi does "lose" her dignity if being found on the streets dying counts, but her friends care enough to get her inside, call 911 and try to warm her up. The difference is that Mimi does wake up, to give her and Roger more borrowed time. And who helps Mimi wake up? Angel.
Why didn't Roger just stick to One Song Glory? How did Roger get enough gas money to get to Santa Fe and back, if he had to sell his guitar to afford the car? Why are they having an orgy during Contact?... the list goes on and on.
A shame, because "One Song Glory" is a thousand times the song "Your Eyes" is.
"Contact" is just an abstract concept of the couples' complicated sex lives and that they're (probably) not tossing around on a table.
I'm still trying to understand why Mark is in the apartment when Angel sings "Today 4 U". He left the apartment in "Tune Up #3" to go fix Maureen's equipment, but when he's actually doing it ("Tango: Maureen"), it's after Roger has met Mimi and Collins and Angel are back at the apartment.
That's obvious, Mark left, ran into the two on the way, and brought them back to the apartment, so that Roger wouldn't have to worry about what happened to Collins.
Also, in "Voice Mail #1", Mark's mother says how they will miss him tomorrow (Christmas). Mark is Jewish. Why would his family miss him on Christmas when it is a Christian holiday?
Many, many, MANY Jews celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday, particularly since Hanukkah is one of the least important holidays on the Jewish calendar.
Why does Mark claim he's "the one of us to survive"? Benny and Maureen were also part of the original gang; both of them are perfectly healthy, as is Joanne.
Mark's relationship with Benny is still not great (or at least not as great as when Benny was Mark's roommate), despite Benny's HeelFace Turn. Maureen left Mark for Joanne. The claim stresses that he's now closer to Roger, Collins, and Angel than the others.
Mark could of also been talking about just between him and Roger as he felt Roger was killing himself trying to hide away from everything.
It could also be a leftover remnant of an earlier iteration of the show where Mark was the only one uninfected with HIV/AIDS.
He's talking to Roger: He's the one of the two of them who will survive.
Also, there's a chance Benny got infected during his affair with Mimi.
There's almost no way Allison (Benny's wife) doesn't have HIV or AIDS by the end of the play. Unless she never has sex with Benny from Christmas onward (the point when Benny and Mimi reconnect), the virus is in her system. Considering Benny's lifestyle, I wouldn't be surprised if she was infected before they got back together. Despite being the driving force behind Benny's actions, she's an innocent victim; even her dog, annoying as it might have been, gets killed.
Or. Maybe they used condoms?
Or, maybe Benny and Mimi had no sex at all. The movie, at least, is somewhat up to interpretation on that part, that he simply took care of an old friend who had a shit-ton of problems. Tbh, that sounds a lot more like Benny.
No ambiguity in the play. As Benny asks during "Happy New Year," "Well does your boyfriend (ie. Roger) know who your last boyfriend was?"
In PIV-sex, HIV transmission is less common when the infected partner is the woman. With condoms, it's very possible Mimi did not pass on the disease; remember that the other infected heterosexual pairings referenced in the play (Mimi and Roger, Roger and April) are all IV drug users, and it's heavily implied that heroin, not sex, is the reason for their infection.
In "Contact", Angel's solo includes a short reprise of "Today 4 U", but after one line, he switches it from "Today for you, tomorrow for me" to "Today me, tomorrow you." This could not only be indicative of Angel's death, but a subtle dark nod to Collins' ultimate fate as well.
"Today 4 U" is a literal translation of the Spanish phrase "hoy por tí, mañana por yo," a justification for acts of kindness towards strangers basically along the lines of "paying it forward." This seems to be Angel's approach to life in general (quote Collins, "All you do is give.")
Given the sexual setting, it possibly just refers to the fact that Angel wants to get off.
The AIDS epidemic ended up killing 100,000 people. Our main cast is just a blip.
When you realise that for Angel to make her dramatic entrance in "Today 4 U", she had to be standing awkwardly outside the loft while Collins talked to his friends and found a good moment to introduce her.
This irritates me every time, especially given how long it takes Collins to get around to introducing her. WMG: I like to imagine she ran into Mimi on her way up.
Let's be real: Angel is absolutely dramatic enough to plan it that way, and Collins, of course, would go along with it. First impressions, baby! (Though she probably began wishing Collins would get a move on after awhile.)