Friday, July 21, 2017
Michael John LaChuisa has been writing musicals non-stop for over two decades. He’s drawn from a wide variety of source material including Greek myth, celebrity biography, French and Spanish drama, Japanese cinema and American poetry. Little Fish was drawn from two short stories Deborah Eisenberg: Days and Flotsam.
The heroines of Days and Flotsam are forced to reinvent themselves. The former after she quits smoking and the latter after she flees an abusive relationship. LaChuisa combines them into the character of Charlotte. The cigarettes had been a coping mechanism for so long that she forgot what she was coping with. Her pain forces her to build a community with those around her instead of swimming upstream on her own.
Tension builds as she passes from person to person, then dissipates in a "don't worry / be happy" ending. The structure has been compared to Company though there's no "Ladies Who Lunch" or "Being Alive" to cap off the night. Instead I held on to the songs for Charlotte's Sorry-Grateful friends, Marco and Kathy, who end up the most fully formed characters on stage.