Ben @ 'My Fair Lady' - just you and your thoughts
What’s it about?
An early 20th-century London street florist is trained to talk like members of high society… and learns much more along the way.
Are you a fan of Disney movies? Watching My Fair Lady felt like seeing all those Disney archetypes come to life on stage.
Theatre feels more important than ever in this era. It’s one of the few things that makes us put down our phones, turn off our headphones and disengage from the wider world. Sure, there’s an audience around you, but it feels like you’re alone in the auditorium. Just you and your thoughts.
My Fair Lady didn’t explicitly try to make a statement or broadcast an opinion. A lot of times leaving a show, I’ll be all up in my feelings. A ton of shows have left me feeling some kind of doom, despair, depression or distress. We all need a few more My Fair Lady-type shows in our lives I think. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t use theatre as a vehicle to challenge authority, ask big questions or examine our culture. Theatre wouldn’t be great if it wasn’t able to expand our minds or confront our beliefs.
What makes My Fair Lady and shows like it so refreshing is their ability to incorporate big issues without making the show all about those issues.
Here’s a list of hot topics that the show definitely touches on:
• Women’s rights
• Patriarchy and misogyny
• Interracial relationships
• Challenging authority
• “Passing” and its problems
And yet, if you asked me what I thought this show was about, I would say relationships. Not romantic relationships (although Freddy’s courting of Eliza is a hilarious interlude that I appreciated). It’s about Eliza rekindling her relationship with her father. The complicated mentor-mentee relationship between Eliza and Professor Higgins. The twinkly-eyed grandfather figure of Colonel Pickering clashing with the bullheaded Professor Higgins. I could go on and on — there are life lessons to be learned from all of these relationships.
Most light and fun plays are hollow in substance, but not My Fair Lady.
Tell us about your experience.
In the comments below.