The Love and World Exploration in The Fantasticks, a Play by Tom Jones

The play, “The Fantasticks” was an interesting take on love and exploring the world. Throughout the play we are shown allegories from characters or musical notes that were entertaining yet also insightful This two hour play featured a cast of characters who weren’t restricted by racial boundaries (ex. Asian dad to a white son and a black man to an Asian daughter) which I enjoyed Humor, wit, and life lessons are intertwined in this musical play; it enlightens us on the curiosity some might have of the world.

As we start off the musical we are introduced to Matt, Luisa, their two dads Hucklebee and Bellomy, El Gallo, as well as a mute actor. Throughout the two acts we witness the growing relationship between Matt and Luisa as well as the surprising one between both their fathers. Separated into two acts, the play sets the stage for what seems to be a “happy ending”; from the time when Matt and Luisa finally got together and held their pose, into twist of curiosity that didn‘t turn out the way they were planning.

“The Fantasticks,” provides an interesting way of showing what the “real world” is like as well as some delusional dreams young people may have One of the many insights in the musical was how Matt and Luisa’s love came to be. As El Gallo introduces Luisa and then Matt, he does not share the story of how their dads came to fruition with this plan. This reminds me of Adichie’s TED Talk on the single story.

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If wejust saw Matt and Luisa without knowing their dads planned their “relationship” we would see them as two young people in love just like how young couples are. “So that is how to create a single story, show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.”  Like a single story, we would think Matt and Luisa were just a normal couple. If we were to meet them for example, they would say they met because they were neighbors who fell in love and that’s all they were, a couple in love who were also neighbors, But as we go into the play we see Hucklebee and Bellomy created Matt and Luisa’s love by implementing the fence and “hate” they have for one anotheri Just like they expected, both their children fell in love with each other.

“Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person” (Adichie, 2009) Because Hucklebee and Bellomy are both fathers, they have the “power” over their children. So like Adichie‘s quote, they set their relationship up and made it the “definitive love story” of Matt and Luisa. As we progress onto the play we see that Hucklebee and Bellomy hire El Gallo to kidnap Luisa, put on an abduction, and create a fake fight where Matt wins, I thought to myself, “If the play was more realistic, how would the use of communication play out instead of creating the grand scheme?” Although we sat in the mezzanine with a “good” view and could hear everything I couldn’t tell if El Gallo was saying “rape“ or raid which confused me on what they were going to do We then see the story take on El Gallo as the “antagonist” who creates the conflict between Matt and Luisa and most of the play Through the interesting act El Gallo put on with the help of Henry and Mortimer, we see the plan unfold just as how it was planned.

This plan was so silly and reminded me of those typical television show with wacky plans that unexpectedly work out in the end, Instead of some grandiose plan, the fathers could have communicated with their children or all four of them together instead of creating such a big, dramatic act. “Many of us suffer becattse of difficult communication” (Hanh, 2013) Although the relationship was “created“ by the fathers, it would be a hard topic to tell your children who clearly thought they were the ones who decided to fall in love at their own whim, Moving on to the second act we pick up on the “newly formed” relationship between the fathers as well as Matt and Luisa, The first song in the second act, “This Plum is Too Ripe,” sets up the theme of the rest of the act in my opinion This is where the characters get annoyed with each other and come to their own realizations that everything isn’t what it seems to be. I will be focusing mainly on Matt and Luisa since they each had similar “goals” on exploring the outside world. I felt like this was relatable because I too would like to explore the world, with of course a realistic outlook on what it has to offer, Matt sings about how the “Visions he see may be waiting just for him,” even though El Gallo says the opposite of what he‘s singing.

As Matt goes on his own we then revisit Luisa and her encounter with El Gallo. This whole act was memorable to me because we see the demise of Matt’s outside experience through Luisa’s “mask.” This act shows the “round and round” that Matt and Luisa go to when dealing with their “dreams” El Gallo promises Luisa a world just like she dreamed of, has her necklace, and almost disappears until Matt comes and confronts himi Matt and Luisa reunite, talk about their experiences and then realize that they want to be together again The play reminded me of a part in Stanton’s TED talk on storytelling “And the fax said, there should be songs, there should be an “I want” song, there should be a happy village song, there should be a love story and there should be a villain”  In “The Fantasticks,” we see “I want” songs, which were “I Can See It,” and “Much More” for example, as well as the other parts stated in the guideline such as the love story between Matt and Luisa, and the “villain” El Gallo. Although Stanton did not take the typical guideline route, the guideline itself provides an outline used in many productions. “The Fantasticks” has been one of the longest off Broadway shows and continues to be successful, which proves that the guideline of storytelling can be used effectively when done right.

Not that Stanton was saying it was the wrong route to take when telling a story, but I found it interesting how this play used those parts to create this intricate, allegorical story, Going in with no background information on “The Fantasticks” I found myself to be wondering how I could relate sources to this play. As the musical went on I started to think in depth on the meanings left behind by the cast. I will admit that I might have forgotten certain parts of the play already but by listening to the 2006 off Broadway soundtrack 1 start revisiting the memorable moments that happened in it. Calling this production a typical love story wouldn’t justify it since it provides much more complexity though the characters obstacles, Their longing to experience the outside world was an interesting goal they had, that was also their problem They didn’t cheat on each other or had some hidden relationship breaking secret, they both had the same dreams and witnessed that it wasn’t what either really wanted. Seeing Matt and Luisa come to their own terms and coming back to each other was a more than a happy ending, it was also a moment in which revelation was found.

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The Love and World Exploration in The Fantasticks, a Play by Tom Jones. (2022, Jul 16). Retrieved from

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