Showmance: A Study

Jyothi Cross

Rumours run around in every show you do. Secret kisses backstage. Wanting eyes onstage. At least, that’s what everyone says. But is the legendary ‘showmance’ truly real? Welcome to my lecture.


My school did Beauty and the Beast as its show last year, and it was, as the kids say, fun times – lots of bouncy musical numbers, some crazy costumes, and a good old-fashioned romance. This is the setting for my first case study: “Belle and the Beast”. Now I have two friends, let’s called them Oscar and Gertrude (disclaimer: these are not their real names). Oscar and Gertrude had to kiss onstage. It was an exciting moment, Oscar’s first kiss with a girl two years older than him who played the main character in the show – at my school, this makes you a literal celebrity – and we were all very excited. Wooh, first kiss! Oscar was even more excited. In fact, for the next few weeks (aka a good couple of months) Oscar had an impressively large crush on Gertrude, and thus a ‘showmance’ was born.

And then shot down about two minutes later when Gertrude revealed she only had platonic feelings for poor old Oscar.

What does this first case study show? Well, by taking your typical setup for a ‘showmance’, we can see how it doesn’t truly work out as many people claim. Perhaps the rumours we hear are one sided, or just made up to liven up the Green Room halfway through a harrowing Tech Week. According to case study one, ‘showmances’ do not exist because life onstage can be separated from life offstage, at least for some people…

And for the other people, I present case study two: same musical, different setup. We all know what it’s like, preparing for a show. The sweat, the tears, the many, many hours stuck with the same five people. Because you have nothing better to do, you start to form a bond, a family almost. Enter Asterix and Penelope (disclaimer: once again, not real names…). They didn’t play lovers, or anything of the sort, in fact Penelope was one of those incredibly popular, date-every-guy kind of gals. Asterix was (and still is) a complete dork. And yet, though simply trapped in the ensemble together, these two started to become more and more… familiar. Maybe it was the close proximity, or the fact that Asterix had finally finished puberty, but they started to get along in a manner most unexpected. And thus, a ‘showmance’ was born.

And it continued, to this very day, almost a year on and they are so incredibly in love it’s so crazy how people can fall so quickly.

So, what does case study two show? Well, perhaps a ‘showmance’ isn’t exactly what we expect it to be, it doesn’t manifest itself in a traditional way. Whilst it can most definitely happen, it’s maybe the idea of this off- and onstage difference that stops two people who play a romantic pair from actually falling for each other. Instead, a ‘showmance’ happens in unforced conditions, where two people spend so much time in close proximity that they do just fall.

At least, that’s what I can gather from my very limited sample group of the 20 people who always do my school play…

Ever had a ‘showmance’? Prove me wrong in the comments below!