*Spoiler Alert! Details of the plot of My Fair Lady are discussed here*
Often times, when people go to the theater, they see a show–a whole package. A culmination of everything the company collaborated to create. The end result of many minds’ efforts…
It’s really beautiful when those creative blends come out just right, and the different notes are harmonious. I witnessed one example of this over the weekend, when I saw Musical Theater West’s production of My Fair Lady. This version of the beloved musical adapted from Bernard-Shaw’s Pygmalion did something awesome here. Taking a widely praised classic, they managed to both celebrate the material, and deliver a very concise, and very contemporary, concept.
While I’ve always loved this musical, its liveliness, its gently satirical humor, I was always a bit confused by its ending. Why, I’ve always wondered, does Eliza go back to Higgins? After all of his abuse (and however based in humor it is, the heroine certainly isn’t laughing), why does she choose to return?
In this production, my question was finally answered. Because, through the teamwork apparent between director and ingenue, it was very clear that Eliza made a decision. The evolution of her character, from trod upon child to powerhouse sophisticate, was swept up in the play’s final moments.
As she began to break away from her hurricane of a mentor, it was clarified, through choices both the actress and director made, that this was the first time she’d ever chosen strictly for herself.
And in that, the whole concept of the production! Eliza finally learns that her life is hers and hers alone to control. It is only when she has reached this recognition, away from discipline, from outside opinion, that she finds she wants to go back, just for herself. What I saw in MTW’s production brought a new perspective to an old story, and to me, represented the best of what a strong collaboration between company players can create.