Thursday, July 03, 2014

Starring Toronto Mayor Rob Ford as Falstaff

Too easy. 

When I spotted a reference in one of my news items suggesting that the mayor's story was Shakespearean, I thought "Oh this will be good, somebody's actually going to argue about how tragic the whole thing is."  Nah, they just went with the big jolly drunk angle.

That's not to say there's not some smirks to be had in the article:

"Falstaff from Shakespeare," McCaig said in a telephone interview. "He's very Shakespearean or operatic. He's our modern tragic hero..."  They do know that Falstaff isn't a tragic hero, right?

"It's a timeless story. Actually, it's been written 100 times -- it's this rise to greatness and then a huge, huge fall due to your own weaknesses. God, this story has been written 100 years ago, you know what I mean?"  Sure, absolutely, written 100 years ago.  That's why you earlier compared it to Shakespeare, who was writing 450 years ago.

All in all, the musical looks like an even better train wreck than its subject.


JM said...

Just to play Devil's Advocate, I'll argue the Tragic angle.
In making a statement like, "He's our modern tragic hero...", perhaps they're influenced, as many have been, by the final memory of Falstaff. He was ultimately rejected (Henry IV) and died (Henry V) without the person he thought was his best and true friend, Prince Hal, the soon to be Henry V.

BTW I've known a few "jolly drunks" in my time. They all died too soon.Tragic--in more ways than one.

It *does* sound like a silly subject for a musical. But who knows. Contemporary tastes continue to amaze me.

Fester said...

Seems a little far fetched.
Rob Ford is a politician and as Mayor, was entrusted to run Toronto as a servant of the citizens.
I'm sure there are better examples of a rising ruler done in by hubris.

Jack Falstaff, may have dreamed of becoming important thanks to his friendship with Prince Hal. However, he was fooling only himself. I really doubt anyone took Falstaff seriously--apart from a couple of drunken groundlings.
I think they are focusing more on the drunken buffoon aspect.

But then, if someone could make a Musical about the Colorado Cannibal, Alferd Packer. Maybe Rob Ford the musical might not be so bad.

JM said...

"I really doubt anyone took Falstaff seriously--apart from a couple of drunken groundlings."

Them, and perhaps that well-known old sot herself, the Queen, who became familiar with him during a command performance at her court. :-)

Seriously though, aside from the conjecture about the Queen demanding Sir John's resurrection, doubted by many, there is a difference between being 'taken seriously' and being seriously beloved. There is more than scant evidence that Falstaff fell into the latter category, as shortly after, Shakespeare revived him in Merry Wives, whatever other reasons there may have been for his resuscitation.