‘The School for Scandal’ opens tonight
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 01:11
Friday marks the third University of Southern Mississippi theatre production of the season and last of this semester with the comedy The School for Scandal.
Headed by Lou Rackoff, who has a M.F.A in directing, this production is able to tout having some of USM’s most experienced theatre students tackling this classic play.
Often called the “vintage champagne” of English Drama, The School of Scandal was first performed in 1777 and written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan and pokes fun at the British etiquette and properness.
Despite the play being several hundred years old, Rackoff is not worried about it connecting the modern audience. “This play could be about any one of us,” he said. “It really could be about any married couple; it’s very clever.”
The plot of the play centers around the timeless themes of gossip, jealousy and deceit while juxtaposed with British high society. Though the play is often about not-so-good people doing not-so-good thing, Rackoff said, “We are trying to keep the characters 3D. We want the audience to care.”
“It’s very witty, fast pace and intelligent,” said Rebecca Yeager, 3rd year graduate student and leading lady of the play. “I’m really excited to see it all come together.” Her and her counterpart, Alex Piper, male lead and 3rd year graduate student, described the classic play as a vocal and physical workout. Though they also commented that the play is written so well that they hardly have to work to get the humor across.
“It’s not one type of joke but endless forms,” said Rackoff after revealing that the production crew could be heard laughing during the first real rehearsal of the play.
The production crew kept in mind that the writing and humor is the focus of the play. The set, costumes and lights consciously decided to keep those factors more muted in able to help keep the attention on the actors and the action.
“We really wanted the actors to pop like a 3D pop out book,” said Lauren Roberts, 3rd year graduate student in set design. While the actual stage takes up a lot of space, much of the space is left unused to allow the actors to walk around and utilize the entire stage with very few props.
Even the costume designs and lights were kept subtle, even if they actually used a lot of resources. “We kept it a period silhouette,” said Stephanie Albey, 3rd year graduate in costume design. “We went a little extreme on some costume element but pulled some back.”
The School of Scandal opens today and is playing Friday and November 28 until December 1. For more information go to http://www.usm.edu/theatre or call 601.266.4994.