New adaptation an instant success
Photos by John Bone
Love makes the rounds in such a way to unite four couples’ love that’s gone astray. A comedy set in the round will certainly be the talk of the town. A hard play performed so happily will show this review reads positively.
In the Thomas H. Kean Theater, the Department of Theatre and Dance and Drew University Dramatic Society (DUDS) presented “Lovers’ Quarrel,” the well-known play by Molière defies all standards and sets the bar incredibly high for this year’s productions.
Director and Professor of Theater Arts Daniel LaPenta delivers to the audience a tight and positively delightful show. LaPenta manages to expertly convey every theme of this piece to the audience.
The first thing the audience notices is that the production is in the round. Rather the production is the square, since the set is square.
The play itself is set on the street outside the main character’s house. Therefore, the audience is privy to all of the conversations that create the “Lovers’ Quarrel.” This is a natural and appropriate way to set the audience. It allows the audience a delicious, nosy perspective that lets the comedy come more naturally.
The set itself, beautifully designed by Ashley Petix (’13), is painted on the floor. The fact that there are no platforms is a terrific idea because it allows the movement of the actors to be as fluid as the dialogue and allows for fast pacing.
The paint is luscious and the colors pop out of the floor– it is simply pretty to look at. The cobblestone path is well-detailed and looks real. The set overall is a job well done by Petix, one of Drew’s up and coming set designers.
The first thing the audience will hear in the dialogue is Molière’s rhyming couplets. The play is written with a rhyme scheme. This gives the actors a challenge, since it is easy to harp on the rhyme scheme. However, the performances across the board were terrific, anchored by Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Chris Ceraso as Albert, professional actress Rosiland Seneca as Polidore, and Professor of English Jim Hala as both Metaphraste and La Rapiere.
Ceraso offered, in an old man, shockingly hilarious energy that played well with Seneca’s adorable, steadily paced, precise performance.
Courtney Cooke (’14) as Marinette stole the show with her broad movements, impeccable timing and terrific sense of humor. Playing opposite her was Gregory Glomb (’14) as Gros-Rene who, while new to Drew theatre, kept up with Cooke and the rest of the more experienced cast, giving a spotless first performance.
The rest of the cast gave top notch performances individually. However, what really stuck out was the company dynamic. The whole cast worked very well together and appeared to be having great fun with Molière’s work, which allowed the audience to have fun as well.
What LaPenta really accomplished in this production was showing the audience that the play is a metaphor for how love works. The play demonstrates that love works in a roundabout and unsuspecting way. The set, the blocking and the fact that the play is written in rhyming couplets all build around the concept that love is round. In this respect, LaPenta has organized expertly organized a strong production. All other productions this year will be measured to this one.