Light, Camera, Action!
An to this year's fall musical, "The Drowsy Chaperone" including a recap, quotes, and a look into the production process!
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After months of work, the annual fall play has come to a close after three very successful days of production. This year’s play, entitled “The Drowsy Chaperone”, had the audience on the edge of their seats as they followed this romantic comedy. Set in the 1920’s, this play encaptures young love, resulting in the marriage of four different couples.
The opening scene portrays a Broadway fanatic attempting to play a record. The record then comes to life on stage in the form of the play. This production was much different from others of its kind, as this narrator stayed on stage throughout the entirety of the play. Whether he was making a funny comment about modern technology, or giving the audience background information of a particular actor, the Man in the Chair, played by Kevin Tang, kept the audience laughing. Emma Yaniger, the female lead, describes her experience with interacting with this narrator, “When actors are trained with experience in the basics of being onstage and acting etiquette, it becomes a force of habit that we ‘give’ to our fellow actors in the scene with us, by making eye contact with them, interacting with physical contact, etc. If I wasn’t quite focused enough during the scene, I realized that when he started to say a line, my instinct was to look over and interact, but of course then I had to snap out of that.”
As the record began to play, the hilariously complex plot comes to life . Various family members and friends come to see the marriage of showgirl, Janet Van De Graaff, played by Emma Yaniger, who planned to give up her career for marriage to successful oil businessman Robert Martin, played by Caperton Putt. Emma Yaniger decribes what it is like to be the lead in this play, “It’s definitely a great responsibility, but one that I was so thrilled and prepared to undertake.”
The people who come to celebrate the marriage include the hostess Mrs. Tottendale, Underling the butler, George the stressed best man, Feldzieg the producer, Kitty the flapper who’s waiting for her big break in showbiz, two gangsters dressed as pastry chefs, hilarious Latin self proclaimed womanizer Aldopho, the alcoholic chaperone, and Trix the pilot.
However, the plot develops as each different character shows his or her own true reasons for attending the wedding . Van De Graaf’s producer, Feldzieg, proves he is present at the wedding only to attempt to dissuade her from marriage in order to play in her newest show. Pressure on him is increased when the two pastry chefs reveal themselves to be gangsters incognito who continuously bombard him with different threats such as a “Toledo Surprise”. Felzieg receives his wish when the groom, Robert, kisses who he believes is a French girl named Mimi while roller skating blindfolded in the garden, however Mimi is actually just Janet in disguise. While this happens, Aldopho seduces the chaperone thinking that she is the bride. Throughout this, Kitty is constantly attempting to be the showgirl of Feldzieg’s dreams, and this is where Act 1 ends.
Act 2 starts with a hilarious bang, when the Man in the Chair accidently puts in the wrong record and the “Message from A Nightingale” begins with stereotypical Asian outfits. After the Man in the Chair realizes his mistake, he quickly switches the records and the Drowsy Chaperone starts where it left off. Janet decides she should go back to show business instead of proceeding to get married, such to Feldzieg’s delight. A new couple emerges when Mrs. Tottendale reveals her love for her employee, Underling. Right after this, the Chaperone announces that she and Aldolpho are also getting married. Robert then tells Janet he loves her, and Janet reveals that she and Mimi were the same person, and agrees to marry him. However, now Feldzieg is left without a showgirl, and quickly choses Kitty to fill Janet’s shoes. When showing her “mind reading skills” to the gangsters, Kitty says that Feldzieg is asking her to marry him, so now there are four couples seeking to get married. George was the best man of all four weddings, but soon realized he forgot to book a minister when Trix lands and announces to all that she is flying to Rio. Pilots can perform marriages on a plane, so all four couples decide to get married on the plane and honeymoon in Rio. After one more bump in the record, the play comes to a close.
This magnificent play did not just happen overnight. Ms. Karres-Williams gives us insight to the many different factors that came into play to make this wonderful production “On my end, before we even get into auditions, it takes lots of planning and organization. After the play is cast, it takes many hours in rehearsal!” Well, all that work certainly paid off with this production completely selling out on Friday, and nearly selling out on both Thursday and Saturday. Ms. Karres- Williams describes this success, “Our musicals are always a huge hits but ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ was an even bigger hit than any of us expected.”
We can now add “The Drowsy Chaperone to the long list of successful plays that have been produced here at HIES. Keep a look out for more news about the 2015 Spring play!