The Fantasticks

Musical byTom Jones and Harvey Schmidt
Welcome to El Gallo’s “Show of Dreams”!
Luisa and Matt are in love. If only their fathers weren’t enemies! To maintain their secret relationship, they exchange vows of love, verse and song over the wall erected between their neighbouring houses – very Romeo and Juliet, they think. Their fathers’ warnings of each other only serve to enliven their shared fantasy. Little do they know that the animosities between Hucklebee and Bellomy, their respective fathers, are nothing but a well-executed show. It’s been designed to achieve exactly what is unfolding before the fathers’ eyes: their children fall in love and the two old pals can finally plan a family union. As the icing on the cake, Hucklebee and Bellomy hire a professional villain to stage an attempted abduction of Luisa. This, they hope, will give Matt the chance to fashion himself as a hero and present them with the rationale for bringing the families together officially. El Gallo is the man for the job, but he wouldn’t dare a big production without bringing Shakespeare veterans Henry and Mortimer along for good measure The scene is a success: Matt fights off the aggressors, Luisa is “rescued” and the families celebrate their happy end.

Some time has passed. The families have conjoined, the wall has been torn down, but reality does not hold what fantasy promised. In the light of day, cracks are showing in the perfect façade, bad habits and imperfections have emerged. Hucklebee and Bellomy dream of the times when they met in secret, and Matt and Luisa feel trapped in their neat lives. Whey they find out that their fathers, disdain for each other was fake, the attempted raid make-belief and the moon made from cardboard, the conflict escalates. Matt decides to leave home, seeking adventure in travel. Meanwhile, Luisa dreams of escaping with the mystery bandit. Enter El Gallo, who promises to fulfil both their desires. In their devilish dance, El Gallo puts Luisa in a state of intoxication, which lets her see visions of Matt experiencing violence and pain on his journey. With their illusions broken, Luisa and Matt meet again when he returns dishevelled from his trip. This time, they can see each other as their true selves. El Gallo’s job is done, but he has one more lesson to teach: while living with your eyes open, always keep a little fantasy alive.