Comedy and complications
January 22, 2010
Three wives, two husbands and a secret lover. This scandalous situation may sound like the latest episode of “Jerry Springer,” but it is actually the condensed plot of the play “The Gondoliers.”
The Sinfonicron Light Opera Company presents the musical “The Gondoliers” this weekend, directed by Keegan Cassady ’10 and produced by Greg Benson ’11. Sinfonicron is completely student-run — both onstage and behind the curtain. The cast and crew spent the last three weeks of winter break building sets, sewing costumes, choreographing dance numbers and re-running songs to bring this comedic musical to life.
Audiences will be captivated by this Gilbert and Sullivan classic if not solely for its complicated storyline. A young woman, played by Mary Myers ’10, was married at birth to the heir of the throne of Barataria. When her Duke and Duchess parents, Rebecca Phillips ’11 and Christopher Richardson ’13, take her to locate her betrothed, it is revealed that a drunken gondolier mixed up the prince with his own son. The two gondoliers must jointly rule the kingdom and handle the wives they have recently married until the rightful ruler is revealed. Throw in a murdered king, a threatening inquisitor and a love affair, and you have the makings of an intricate and humorous musical.
“‘The Gondoliers’ was chosen by the company and it was picked because it’s a very ensemble-driven show,” Cassady said. “[This show] looks at various sides of marriage — it’s like a funny version of a romantic comedy.”
For many cast members the best part of being in this show was working alongside their friends.
“The leads bounced off each other well, and the other actors are brilliant. Every rehearsal was fun,” Phillips said. “It’s just an excellent display of the talent at our school.”
While students at the College of William and Mary are known to work hard, putting together an entire production in such a short amount of time is a major feat.
“It’s exciting to see what fellow students can do,” Dylan Echter ’12 said. “It’s a case of mistaken identity by more than one person and is just a really fun show.”
“It’s also quite fun to sing all those tongue-twister traditional [Gilbert and Sullivan] lyrics,” Kate Hughes ’12 said.
While several lyrics are lost during the frantically fast songs, some of the leads more than make up for the missed musings. The gender reversal of the Duke and Duchess is entertainment at its finest — nothing tops Richardson parading onstage in an ostentatious dress waving a four-foot fan followed by the petite Phillips in full royal regalia. Whether Myers is delivering her lines with perfect comedic timing or ad-libbing, which hopefully makes it past rehearsals, she often seems like an unstoppable one-woman show. Barrett Armbruster ’10 shines as the intimidating and highly-respected Grand Inquisitor surrounded by an impressive troupe of student dancers.
On the first weekend back on campus, students shouldn’t miss out on such an entertaining production. Students tickets are only $4 when purchased with the presentation of one of the coupons posted on doors around campus.
Performances of “The Gondoliers” will be at 8 p.m. today, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday.