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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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GIMP mocks love stories with a love story


This weekend, Grinnell Independent Musical Productions (GIMP) will celebrate its fifth year of performance with its premiere of “The Fantasticks,” the world’s longest running musical which parodies love stories throughout history.

The two-part musical tells the love story of Matt (Rose Kory ’10) and Luisa (Kathleen Murphy-Geiss ’11) who, “Romeo and Juliet” style, come from two feuding families. They fall in love and fight to be together, overcoming hurdles throughout the musical. The obvious parallels to the classic Shakespearean tragedy are comeletely intentional.

“It’s a love story itself, but it is also a parody on stereotpyical love stories featuring two crazy lovers,” director Brock Webb ’09 explained.
The couple’s mothers want the pair to fall in love and get married and, ironically, begin the quarrel intentionally.

“If there was no feud, the two would not fall in love,” actress Hannah Lytle ’11 said. “Hence, it’s a parody.”

The mothers hire actors in the story to separate Matt and Luisa from each other, so that Matt may pursue Luisa further, thus proving his love.

While the first act ends happily,with the families reconciled and the lovers together, the second act brings a reality that “takes the stars away from their eyes,” stage director Josie Gerrietts ’10 said.

Matt explores the world, while Luisa lusts after the seductive El Gallo (Eamon Anderson ’09). However, the musical shows how the two eventually mature and fall in love with each other again.

The second act also brings out significant changes in the characters.

“The transformation occurs both in the couple’s relationship, and in their personalities,” Murphy-Geiss said. Luisa changes from a self-centered person to being selfless.”

“Matt goes out, sees the world, only to realize that all he wants to do is settle down,” Kory said. “[He wants his] life to be a story.”
To maximize pleasure in preparing the musical, Webb granted the cast a significant amount of freedom.

“[Webb’s] idea was to make it like a street performance,” Gerriets said. “For costumes, we’re going to Goodwill and each actress and actor is supposed to buy costumes that would fit their character . . . We made sure that everyone got a chance to express themselves.”

The costumes should modernize a musical that has been running nonstop since the late 1950’s. Given its age, Gerrietts found difficulty to adapt the script to suit a modern conception of political correctness.

“When it was written, the authors tried to be politically correct for that era,” she said. “That’s 50 years ago— today, the original script is horribly politically incorrect!”

Regardless, or perhaps as a result, the premiere should be enjoyable, as Webb has encouraged the actors to find something that will connect with the audience that can transcend their stereotypes.

“Try to find the humanity in each stereotypical character,” Webb advised. “It makes the laughs valuable.”

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