Saturday, May 30, 2015
Tasty Monster Productions from the United Kingdom presented Ferdinand in the Red venue of this year's Orlando International Fringe Festival. The show was inspired by the classic children's book "The Story of Ferdinand" by Munro Leaf, Ferdinand tells the story of Tom, a single dad struggling to raise his son in a world determined to make him fight. Raised on the story of his namesake Ferdinand, the bull who refused to fight but just wanted to sit and smell the flowers, young Ferdy learns the hard lessons in life as his father tries to shield him from the harsh realities of adulthood.
Tom reads the story of Ferdinand the bull to his son so many times at night that the boy knows the story by heart. Tom's increasingly demanding job keeps pulling him away from being able to spent time with his son. He brings his son into work for "bring your child to work day". At the end of the work day his boss came in and demanded that he stay late. He starts yelling and bullying Tom in front of his son. Furious, Tom clenches his fists and is ready to punch his boss. His son however stops him, reminding him to be the bull not the bully. Tom does however quite his job on the spot.
The boy begs his dad to come to a school play. It turned out that his son was playing the title roll as the kind natured bull Ferdinand. Tom's boss is also in the audience. He confides that he wasn't ready for all the new responsibility and he needed Tom's expertise to get through the rough patch. Tom is hired back and for the first time sees the more human side of his boss, who was there to see his own son in the play.
This was a simple heart warming tale about the difficulties of raising a child alone. It was a solo show with heart and sincerity. I was surprised that some people don't know the story of Ferdinand the Bull. I included a link to the Disney Animated classic above, so if you don't know the story, then at least watch the animated short.