"Follow, Follow, Follow, Follow": A Hint from The Fantasticks

Well, “[i]t’s stupid, of course,” and “immensely undignified”; perhaps, “I’ve gone mad.” That is how lovelorn Matt, pining for Luisa, the girl next door, explains his “situation” in The Fantasticks. Earlier this week, I had the good fortune to catch up with the off-Broadway revival of this Mousetrap among the musicals. The current production is staged at the less than enchanting sounding Snapple Theater Center (soon to be renamed after actor Jerry Orbach), a suitably small venue for this intimate play (music by Harvey Schmidt; book and lyrics by Tom Jones, who, nearly fifty years after its conception, still performs in it, night after night, albeit under an assumed name).

I was particularly receptive to the wit and wisdom and whimsy of this literary charmer about love and make-believe, disillusionment and romantic rekindling, to the gentle reminder expressed in “Try to Remember,” the show’s best known tune:

Deep in December it’s nice to remember,
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December it’s nice to remember,
Without a hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December it’s nice to remember,
The fire of September that made us mellow.

I had just made up my mind to cancel my flight back home to Wales in order stay in New York City until such time as my one and only would come and fetch me and spend a few days together in the city where we first met. It seems that you can have your Big Apple and eat it, after all.

My appeal to “follow” has not fallen of deaf ears. Like Matt, who’s gone out into the world and left his Luisa behind, I can now look forward to a cheerful reunion and the confidence of we’ll-take-it-from-here. Never mind that I am no longer as agile as former American Idol contestant Anthony Fedorov (who plays Matt) and that my Luisa sings as loudly as he snores and tends to sprout hairs on his back. Still, anyone with a sense of wonder, a penchant for “Metaphor” and a love “[b]etter far than [it]” will not have to stretch or struggle to relate to their story.

“[T]ry to see it,” the Narrator encourages the audience: “Not with your eyes, for they are wise, / But see it with your ears.” It may look “mad” to the world, but my act of folly sure sounds like something to remember once the chill of December comes round. The rest will “follow.”

2 Replies to “"Follow, Follow, Follow, Follow": A Hint from The Fantasticks”

  1. It may obvious from this entry, but I\’m assured that the Welsh love DOES have some redeeming qualities, sprouting hairs, a propensity to snore and an immediate love-driven response to the ultimatum notwithstanding!

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  2. Ooops. That should have read \’It may NOT BE obvious from this entry …\’. I have it on good authority that the Welsh love will not be disappointed on Wednesday when he is reunited with his nearest and most dearest.

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