How To Become Memorable

Hip hop and educational don’t often appear in the same sentence. But this odd combination is one of the recent discussion topics around Lin Manuel Miranda’s latest Broadway blockbuster, based on one of America’s less-told stories, Hamilton.

Hamilton 2

If you are a fan of the theatre, you don’t tend to have a very well-rounded view of history. Rather, you tend to have incredibly intense specialist knowledge of a few key moments in time (which lend themselves rather well to musical numbers). You will know about the French Revolution, the ascendency of Peronism in Argentina and an obscurely specific amount of information about the westernisation of Siam among other key historical moments.

For the current generation of theatre-goers, they are about to acquire a deep knowledge of the founding fathers through Hamilton.

But why is this significant?

Each of the musicals that I have alluded to were revolutionary for their time. Les Miserablés wowed audiences with its sung-through format. Evita was propelled into stardom due to its ever-popular composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. And The King and I was the latest presentation from the legendary Rodgers & Hammerstein. They were all incredibly popular . . . as is Hamilton . . . because they were written in a manner which related to their audiences.

Hamilton has pushed the boundaries even further with its incorporation of hip hop music which is of much more relevance to younger audiences than the music of previous theatre legends. Billboard even called it the most influential hip hop album of the year which is a testament to its relatability – even outside the world of theatre.

It isn’t often that students of American history will get to experience learning about their founding fathers through rap and hip hop. But suddenly this information is being presented in a much more accessible, relatable and memorable form than simply reading it in a text book. So not only is Hamilton a revolutionary musical, it is also a testament to the importance of how information is presented.

The story of Alexander Hamilton could be conveyed through a standard lecture where 1,500 people watch a dreary power point on the topic. But very few people would take that information in, and even fewer would be able to remember it in the long term. However, if it is presented in a manner that is easily relatable to modern audiences and uses devices (such as a rap battle) to convey political debate, it is instantly much more recognisable and memorable to an audience leaving a lasting impact.

No matter whether the message you are trying to convey is the most interesting thing in the world (or a somewhat dry era of history), the important part is the communication. If you look at your audience and craft it in a manner which will resonate with them . . . then you will never have an issue with communication!