‘Falsettos’ is the funny yet heart-wrenching sung-through musical by William Finn and James Lapine. This show is actually a interweaving of three one-act musical installments: In Trousers, March of the Falsettos, and Falsettoland. ‘Falsettos’ premiered on Broadway in 1992, but it was the 2016 revival that is widely known today. This critically acclaimed revival, starring Stephanie J. Block, Christian Borle, Andrew Rannells and multiple other big names, was professionally filmed and is still frequently watched to this day in conjunction with various other companies around the globe creating their own productions of the musical.
Set in the late 70’s to early 80’s, the story centers around the life of Marvin, a charming, intelligent, neurotic man and his Jewish family including his wife, Trina, and a son named Jason. Their worlds are turned upside down when he leaves Trina and Jason in order to be with his lover, a man named Whizzer. After divorcing Trina, Marvin desperately wants to keep a traditional family dynamic but the circumstances don’t allow for that, especially when his ex-wife begins to date the family psychiatrist and the couple from next door, Cordelia and Dr Charlotte, become extended family members. The family unit becomes everything except functional. This show explores the impact of Marvin’s decisions on his family and the consequences of the fear of commitment in his relationship with Whizzer. ‘Falsettos’ documents the character’s collective attempts to come together to co-exist as a loving but unconventional family unit… is it possible?
‘Life’s a Sham’ is a frequently repeated phrase in ‘The Chess Game’, the sixteenth song in the soundtrack, that takes place in Act 1. Marvin and Whizzer are sat down playing a game of chess, Marvin playing the black side and Whizzer playing the white. The way this chess game plays out is a metaphorical description of the current state of their relationship with one another with Marvin constantly instructing Whizzer on how to move his pieces, controlling the game in the same way he has a tendency to do with everything else in his life, most notably his ex-wife Trina. Their true feelings about the ongoing relationship issues are made known through the reoccurring lyrics “Life’s a sham and every move is wrong”. By the end of the game, Whizzer, following Marvin’s direction, proceeds to win the game with a two-move checkmate which in turn makes him realise that in the game of life, he wants to be in control of his own moves.
It’s seems as though Marvin views Whizzer as a pawn in his game, hence the white pawn chess piece that belongs to Whizzer being used in this design. Inspired by this and the multicoloured bubbles associated with this show in addition to using blocks of text embodying the checkered squares of a chess board this pin really captures the essence of this gritty show and is the perfect way to show your love for all things Falsettos!