“Have you ever had an intention?”: The Postmodern Condition and the Failure of Epiphany in Michael John LaChiusa’s Little Fish
Michael John LaChiusa’s 2003 musical Little Fish is a work that engages with the conditions of living in the postmodern age. This article analyses how LaChiusa manipulates the formal properties of the musical in order to express the disconnection and fragmentation of postmodern living. It examines the impact of this on personal relationships, as Little Fish is full of unsatisfying encounters between subjects. Finally, it considers its treatment of epiphany. The musical excels at the presentation of triumphant epiphanic moments. Little Fish, however, subverts epiphany at almost every turn. Ultimately, it is perhaps a twenty-first century successor to Stephen Sondheim’s Company: a study of urban existence in these times.