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Stella A Griffin

 Theater Educator/ Director

 

 

 

 Brethren Christian

Junior & Senior High School, located in southeast Huntington Beach, CA.,

has provided academically

excellent, Christ-centered

education for 60 years.

Visit us at www.bchs.net

 

 

Brethren Christian's 'Scapin' is masterfully absurd

By GEORGE CLEMMONS

2009-12-07

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 performance.

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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