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Someone Else's Story 
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Fresh Face
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Post Someone Else's Story
Hey everyone!
I was asked to sing Someone Else's Story for a concert. I have learned the song and think that it is absolutely beautiful, and while I do have a general understanding of the emotion behind the lyrics, it would be a great help if I could understand the song in context with the story. I have searched Wikipedia and other sites, but they have not been very much of a help. Can someone please explain the song within the context of the show?
Thank you so much!


Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:36 pm
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Quote:
Hey everyone!
I was asked to sing Someone Else's Story for a concert. I have learned the song and think that it is absolutely beautiful, and while I do have a general understanding of the emotion behind the lyrics, it would be a great help if I could understand the song in context with the story. I have searched Wikipedia and other sites, but they have not been very much of a help. Can someone please explain the song within the context of the show?
Thank you so much!


Well, it depends upon which version of the show you're using. In the US version, the song is given to Florence in the script. Freddie, the american chess player whom she is assisting, and her sometime lover, has just caused an international incident by accusing the Soviet player of cheating by way of receiving coded messages in cups of yogurt. He walked out of match and left her to clean up the mess, which she did by arranging a meeting in which the Soviets. When she confronts Freddie about the deed and tells him she's arranged a meeting, he refuses to attend without an outright apology. An argument ensues (The American & Florence / You Want to Lose Your Only Friend) and finally, Freddie storms out. Alone in the room, Florence sings Someone Else's Story as a lament to how ridiculous her situation is - she's putting up with an abusive partner and setting up meetings to justify his histrionics. She doesn't understand why she's in this position, but after seven years it's difficult to call it quits. Later in Act One she does leave Freddie, so this is really the beginning of that arc for her character.

In the UK version (and lots of variations of the US version, these days) the song is given to Anatoly's estranged wife Svetlana in Act Two. Her situation is a similarly ridiculous one - she has been brought to Bangkok (or Budapest, or wherever, depending on version) under duress purely to put emotional strain on her husband. She knows about his relationship with Florence, and also knows that her marriage to Anatoly has been over for some time now - but the two did indeed once love each other; some could argue that Svetlana indeed is still in love with him but her feelings are not reciprocated. The degrading nature of her situation as a political pawn, coupled with seeing her once and/or current love with another woman is the catalyst for the song in Svetlana's case.

In the Sydney 1990 production, the song's lyrics were changed slightly to better fit Svetlana, and while some productions choose to use these lyrics, most use the original, more familiar lyrics written for Florence whether Florence or Svetlana has the song. The 2008 concert with Josh Groban, for example, given the song to Svetlana but leaves Florence's lyrics intact.

In either case, it's the story of a woman in an absurd situation, one she'd never place herself in willingly, yet for one reason or another, here she is: trapped in a moment she cannot escape from, with no choice but to see the story through to its inevitable end.

Hope this helps!

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Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:58 am
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Fresh Face
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This helps immensely! Thank you so much! Today during rehearsal, I was really able to connect emotionally with the song! I have to confess, I was able to connect a little more with the song in context with Svetlana's story...and it helped so much! I can't thank you enough!


Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:06 pm
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Happy to help!

I agree that the emotional resonance is a bit stronger with Svetlana - I'm directing the show this fall/winter, and though I'm doing the US version, I'll be giving the song to Svetlana early in Act II, for just that reason. It helps round out her character a bit more, and helps to feature her as a performer too, as she has sadly little to sing otherwise.

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Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:38 am
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Post Re: Someone Else's Story
Good luck with directing the US version. I saw a production last year in Kansas and I think the US version does not work very well. But it would be great to let us know how you get on with it. Where are you placing Nobody's Side as you are giving the amazing Someone Else's Story ( a gem of a song that says so much) to Svetlana - and rightly so. Am just curious about this as I feel Nobody's side works best after the Budapest is rising piece for Florence and Freddie.

Cheers


Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:26 pm
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Post Re: Someone Else's Story
Oops i realise I Am a little bhind on this one and that it has come and gone. Well hope it all went well!!!


Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:36 pm
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Post Re:
kaelidancer wrote:
Quote:
In the UK version (and lots of variations of the US version, these days) the song is given to Anatoly's estranged wife Svetlana in Act Two. Her situation is a similarly ridiculous one - she has been brought to Bangkok (or Budapest, or wherever, depending on version) under duress purely to put emotional strain on her husband. She knows about his relationship with Florence, and also knows that her marriage to Anatoly has been over for some time now - but the two did indeed once love each other and the zcode members area https://donkeybets.com/my-zcode-system-review is pretty good; some could argue that Svetlana indeed is still in love with him but her feelings are not reciprocated. The degrading nature of her situation as a political pawn, coupled with seeing her once and/or current love with another woman is the catalyst for the song in Svetlana's case.

]
I much prefer this version. Why are there different versions anyway?


Last edited by EasyBea on Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:18 am, edited 3 times in total.



Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:36 am
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Post Re: Re:
EasyBea wrote:
I much prefer this version. Why are there different versions anyway?


It's a long story, but essentially the hurried nature of the original London show resulted in a rather mixed bag that none of the creatives were very satisfied with. It got overhauled for Broadway (and rather infamously steamrolled into a particular vision by Trevor Nunn), though that ended up flopping worse due to leaden direction and an unfathomably bad ending.

All things considered though, I've always preferred the Broadway version of the show--take away the bad ending and lighten the mood a bit, and you've got a much sounder dramatic base to build the show off of. The UK version has it's plusses, but it's far sloppier in its construction and with a lot more glaringly weak scenes (almost all but about 25 minutes of Act I is actively bad). Neither show is perfect, and the Broadway version has some obvious weaknesses, but I've always felt it's easier to use the Broadway script as a base and import the preferable changes from London than it is to try and bend the London script into a workable shape.

(though, really, I'm curious what it would be like to just ditch everything and write a ground-up new script off of the original concept album synopsis, which is even from description loads better than the eventual London script)


Sun Jan 31, 2016 2:12 am
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Post Re: Someone Else's Story
Any chance anyone might know where I can get a copy of the revised version of the lyrics Tim Rice wrote for Svetlana to sing in this song? I'm potentially interested in using them in a community theatre production of the London version, if Samuel French will allow it. (I actually live in the US--Indiana, to be precise--but I have a strong preference for the London version of the show.) Anyway, I really think "Someone Else's Story" should be in the show, and it should be sung by Svetlana, but I think the lyrics she's usually given to sing, as they were originally written for Florence, don't really fit the Svetlana character that well, so I'm hoping to find something better.

In the meantime, I made an attempt at my own version of a lyric for Svetlana (just for fun; I probably wouldn't actually consider using it in a production unless Tim Rice's version turned out to be terrible). Incidentally, it's about 90% the original lyrics for Florence with mostly pronouns changed, and a few longer passages rewritten here and there. Feedback appreciated!

SVETLANA:

Long ago
In someone else's lifetime,
Someone with my name
Who looked a lot like me

Came to know
A man who made a promise;
She only had to say,
And that's where he would be.

Lately, although her feelings run just as deep,
The promise he made has grown impossible to keep,
And now, with ev'ry passing dawn,
I wonder, is he really gone?

In a way,
It's someone else's story;
I don't see myself
As taking part at all.

Yesterday.
A girl that I was fond of
Finally could see
The writing on the wall.

Sadly, she realized he'd left her behind,
And sadder than that, she wondered, did she really mind?
And though there's nothing left to say,
What if he came home someday?

It's all very well to say
"Forget your foolish yearning!
Time to move on now;
No chance of him returning!"

I could be
In someone else's story,
In someone else's life,
For two can play the game.

I don't see
A reason to be lonely.
Let him have his fun now,
But let me do the same!

And if that girl I knew
Should ask my advice,
Oh, I wouldn't hesitate;
She needn't ask me twice!

Go now!
I'd tell her that for free.
Trouble is, the girl is me.
The story is, the girl is me.

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