Shrek is the story of an unlikely hero. Or rather, unlikely heroes. Because everyone in the story who is supposed to lose, wins.
Shrek’s story was written long before he was born. Ogres are monsters. They’re dangerous. It’s in their nature. Their very DNA. They’re to be feared. Reviled. Destroyed. Same with dragons. As for nobility, donkeys might dream of being noble steeds but they aren’t and never will be. Pinocchio spends his life wishing on stars that he’ll become what he’d been taught he should be. A real boy. Because unless he’s that, he’s a freak.
All of the characters are forced to live out their lives knowing that they’re losers. That they’re condemned to a life of watching others win. The ones who were born the way we’re supposed to be. They’re reminded on a daily basis that the world would be better without them. If they must exist then, for God’s sake, exile them to the nearest swamp where they belong.
Shrek hates the world. Can you blame him? The world works overtime to make sure he knows how much it hates him. It doesn’t matter that Shrek’s more than what he’s been told he is. As is Donkey and Dragon and Pinocchio and Fiona and even Farquaad… Why? Because the story’s been written. And as we’ve all been taught…so it is written, so it shall be done. Or else.
But when Shrek’s sanctuary gets turned into a ghetto by Lord Farquaad he says enough is enough, this I will not accept, and changes the narrative. And by doing so, wins. And surprise, surprise, the world becomes better for it, not worse.
We can let others write our stories or write our own. We can accept to be villains in other people’s stories or choose to be heroes in our own. At the end of the play when everyone sings ‘This Is Our Story’ it really is. Their story. No one else’s.
You have the right to write your story, but not mine. Only I have the right to write my story. And I choose to write a story in which I’m someone who’s worthy. Someone who not only deserves love but gets it. Someone who deserves and gets a happy ending.
When Gingy ends the play with Tiny Tim’s famous words, “God bless us every one,” it’s a reminder of something we shouldn’t have to be reminded of.