Monday, January 20, 2014

May the farce be with you.

Constellation Theatre Company again lives up to its name by reaching  up into the universe of possibilities to mount Moliere’s Scapin as adapted by Bill Irwin and Mark O’Donnell.

A trip in outer space would have less bumps than the rambunctious trip that the shrewd scheming servant Scapin leads his characters from exposition to coincidences to the inevitable chase finale.

The razzling cast is led by Michael Glenn who as Scapin is the first zani, with the versatile  Bradley Foster Smith as the second zani.  The two servants will through a series of skits succeed in uniting people  as well as involving the audience in a parody of the theater, all at the expense of the pocketbooks and prides of their pompous masters.

The ensemble cast --Megan Dominy and Ashley Ivey, Nora Achrati, Vanessa Bradchulis, Manu Kumasi, and Carlos Saldaña --are convincing actors especially as they move on a fantasy set created by  A.J. Guban,  in exceedingly silly clothes designed by the superb  Kendra Rai, and under the direction  by Kathryn Chase Bryer,

But there is one character who should be mentioned.  That is the piano, whose musical lines are from some of our well known television programs and movies.  Travis Charles Ploeger, the composer and pianist, heightens the sense of theatricality with the musical snippets which compliment the words and actions.  Intuitively, the audience knows what sense of drama that music connotes.  When placed in context of the ridiculous actions, the laughter is compounded.

As a side note--this truly is Moliere who is somewhere in the center of the comic theater pantheon which stretches from commedia dell’arte, through vaudeville and television comedians like Lucille Ball   Accused of plagiarizing to create his characters, he gave one of his famous aphorisms: I recover my property wherever I find it.  If he borrowed too much from other works, he also left a treasury of works to be borrowed from.   Scapin is not only Moliere’s personification of zaniness, but of all the  clowns we have known and loved and laughed at.

Bottom line:  Classic farce infused with fresh barbs --Scapin--done to perfection at Constellation Theatre.