The blazing theatricality that makes Kiss of the Spider Woman a fabulous musical is all about fantasy, escape. Of course, the harsh reality faced by Molina and Valentin locked in that cell is that there is no escape. Molina may not think of himself as being brave, he may see himself as a sissy — Valentin certainly does — but the audience comes to see Molina as a tremendous hero. Even in the beginning, he dares to be himself. The fact that he has no other choice only makes the stakes that much higher. He dares to care for another person in a dark and lonely place, and he dares to love a man who is not only straight, but hates him. And in the end, he gives it all for that man and dies free.
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