Brethren Christian's 'Scapin' is masterfully absurd
Brethren Christian High School's "Scapin" is a
delightful tale of love, trickery and coincidence under
the disco lights. A 70s-style performance of a modern
adaptation of a Moliére farce, the heavily improvised
commedia dell'arte unleashes the talent of a masterful
cast. The talented cast avoids letting ad-libbed
absurdity overcome their wonderfully organic
The plot revolves around a cunning servant, Scapin, who
is enlisted to help hapless youths Octave and Leander
swindle money from their stingy well-to-do fathers so
the boys can marry the penniless objects of their
affection – Hyacinth and Zerbinette.
The titular role of Scapin is played impeccably by
Keegan Lund. Lund maintains a natural performance
despite absurd predicaments and the near-absence of a
fourth wall. Lund's precise comedic timing makes
improvisation flow just as well as any script, and his
improvised lines and actions are hilarious.
Patrick Quinn's Octave is another master of the absurd.
A disco-dancing son of a rich local man, his smooth but
ridiculous moves steal the scene whenever he busts them
out. Quinn blends ersatz masculinity with tender
romanticism while wooing Katharyn Stong's lovable
Hyacinth with over-the-top boasts. Stong gives an
enjoyable performance and manages to take Octave
seriously. Octave's friend Leander (Zack Hinkley) shows
a comic excess of love for ditzy Zerbinette (Kelsey
Coleman), and Coleman displays her mastery of
hilariously airheaded giggling.
Joey Shope plays a lovably dim-witted Sylvestre,
memorably miming Octave's story so Scapin can feign
clairvoyance. Meanwhile, Charlie Sievers and Mitchell
Holevas provide some good old-fashioned slapstick as the
slap-happy Gendarmes. Jack Talbot and Monty Shaw are fun
to watch as old fat cats Argante and Geronte, quick to
anger but slow to catch on as Scapin fools them
repeatedly with outrageous schemes. Periodic character
breaks were forgiven due to the actors' talent.
The technical aspects of the show are mostly the work of
master Shawn Southard, who runs the sound board live as
George the DJ. His two houses (with windows), working
fountain, and secret door are a well-made set but
primarily serve as tools for the actors, avoiding any
distractions. His lighting illuminates normal scenes
pleasantly, keeps the focus on Scapin when addressing
the audience, and turns the theater into a disco when
moves are busted. His disco soundtrack is perfect for
the show, especially when "Staying Alive" plays
throughout a madcap chase. Amanda Martin's props also
fit the scenes well, though they are intentionally
secondary to the acting.
Brethren Christian High School's "Scapin" is masterfully
absurd, though nobody knows why the boy got on the boat.
George Clemmons is a senior at St. Margaret's Episcopal
School in San Juan Capistrano.
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