|Nobody understands the depth of my PAIN!!1!|
In lieu of The Cure, figure skaters often turn to Puccini's Tosca to appropriately express the depth of their brooding. Tosca, with its melodramatic and angst-appropriate subject matters of torture, murder and suicide, has indeed been a very fruitful vehicle to portray the overwrought vagaries of adolescent angst. The prime example is Evgeni Plushenko's 2006 short program:
In his version of Tosca, Mr. Plushenko fulfills the first requirement of adolescent angst by garbing himself in the angst-friendly shade of black. For a man who usually skates as if it is a privilege to watch his back crossovers, Mr. Plushenko also rather convincingly gives some facial expressions that adequately scream of the turmoil of his inner pain (e.g. at 2:48 of the video). However, Mr. Plushenko's Tosca is most impressive for its arm movements, when Mr. Plushenko is clearly exorcising all the demons of his mind by swatting them like flies. Whether this remedies the emptiness of his existence like the traditional dose of Bright Eyes and existential poetry is of course up to the viewer.
Irina Slutskaya provides a ladies' example of of Tosca!angst:
Here, Ms. Slutskaya gives a good example of a particular facet of skating angst that Mr. Plushenko did not quite demonstrate in his Tosca: the head-grab (as angst is all in the mind, after all). Life and figure skating is so hard, you goddamn prep judges! Only extraneous upper-body choreography can sufficiently portray the depth of my pain!!
Overwrought portrayals of angst on ice are popular for the same reasons why Puccini's Tosca is one of the most well-known pieces of classical music--it's loud, impressive and above all, undemanding. But when mediocrity is this easy, quality becomes difficult. True bleakness lies not in over-the-top posturing or anguished facial expressions, but in something more like the quieter and infinitely more subtle 2005 short program by Jeffrey Buttle, set to the proper piano version of Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C sharp minor. Mr. Buttle's Rachmaninoff is as similar to the aforementioned Tosca programs as a Ligeti cluster chord is to an Alice Cooper song, but in both instances, it is no question as to which is much more sombre and unsmiling (not to mention interesting).