It’s cold outside and you may be feeling the fatigue which accompanies returning back to work and school after winter vacation. What better way to wind down and warm up than to escape to the world of Fantasio, a play by Alfred De Musset. The script is highlighted with whimsical, French Romantic themes, and contains heartfelt prose which may melt the ice of the coldest hearts. This short, yet amusing play has captivated my mind and those of the cast and crew for the last ten weeks, and without further adieu, we are opening up our world to an audience tonight! Working on this show has been such a delight, and rehearsals with director Michael Butterworth have proved new levels of creative exploration and enjoyment.
Perhaps at a glance, this show is to be one more fairytale wrapped up in clichés and cartoon-standards, but this is not the case for Fantasio! I was enthralled upon reading the script, and realizing these character’s ethics, morals, and objectives. Musset paints a charming picture of a city where the Princess Elsbeth has been betrothed to the Prince of Mantua to avoid war and maintain peace. Musset introduces the clever and passionate persuasion of Fantasio, a gentleman who because of debts must disguise himself as the court jester to avoid his creditors. Fantasio meets the Princess in his new disguise, they fall in love, but what happens to the marriage between Elsbeth and the Prince is to be discovered in our two acts. It’s a story of sacrifice and circumstances which can be easily related to. Every now and then, because of social class or because of life commitments and circumstances, we don’t always get what we want or deserve, and that’s the honesty of life. If everyone could get married and coupled off, and if there was no sight of war or tension, well now that’s a fairy tale! Fantasio blends these ideals, presenting the truth, but reveals those tender moments in life where things are okay, even if for a fleeting period, and in those moments where circumstances and commitments disappear, that’s where life becomes appreciated for its reality, and understood to go on both happily and bittersweet ever after.
-Anthony Scamihorn (Facio)