The evening was a celebration of creative expression of all kinds, with an all-school art show, music and dance, Shakespeare and improv, and Poetry Out Loud recitations. The night was also a triumph of generosity and altruism, with Empty Bowls raising more than $1,300 for the Crispus Attucks Community Meal Program. Photos by Carly C. ’19 and Mrs. Wilcox.
In the Steinman Theatre, it’s as if Calvin Coolidge is in the White House, the Talkies are all the rage in cinemas, and the stock market is climbing toward a permanent plateau of prosperity.
The last LCDS Theater production was the musical “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a period piece and homage set in the 1920s. Director Kristin Wolanin decided to stay in the era of Art Deco and women’s suffrage for tonight’s production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” The showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday April 25, 26 and 27, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Advanced tickets are $5 and available here, or $10 at the door.
“‘Drowsy’ had a very specific look and feel, and this show, while still set in the same time, shows a totally different aspect of that time,” Wolanin said. “This is the 20s of Gatsby, and gangsters, and flappers, and I wanted to explore the different aspects of the decade during the same school year.”
With a sparse, Bourbon Street-inspired set, the show uses the 20s setting not just because the costumes are fun (they are) or because Wolanin wanted to show off her new, old Victrola (she does), but because it offers her cast — all students in her year-long Shakespeare course — a way to engage with the material in a way they otherwise wouldn’t.
“What I want is for the actors to explore the time period. For example, women got the right to vote. How does living through that kind of social change affect someone like Olivia, who’s being courted by one person while she’s in love with another? And the whole idea of ‘dating’ was new. How does that affect how people pursue who they’re interested in?”
While interrogating social norms is a worthy academic exercise, it’s also secondary to putting on an entertaining show. And with a love triangle, mistaken identities galore, and a sanctimonious prig battling a cohort of libertine pranksters, “Twelfth Night” has been delighting audiences for more than four centuries.
Wolanin is sure that streak will continue when the curtain rises Thursday and Saturday night. On Friday and Saturday afternoon, however, a whole different cast will perform, giving audiences the chance to take in the exact same, completely different show.
Seventeen students signed up for Wolanin’s Shakespeare class, a year-long exploration of one play, culminating with the performing of that play. There aren’t 17 parts in “Twelfth Night,” let alone 17 significant parts, so Wolanin double-cast the show. One group will perform on opening and closing night, with the second group tackling the big Friday night and lighter Saturday afternoon performances.
Double-casting means Wolanin is double-directing as well. She seems to enjoy life on the high wire. Or perhaps she’s just acting.
“We’re in the thick of it and it’s total chaos and it’s wonderful!”
Kendall K. is the only senior in the show, and is playing The Fool in the Friday night/Saturday matinee cycle. Her Shakespeare classmates are overwhelmingly freshmen, and Kendall’s prior roles have tended toward the ingenue, so finding herself the veteran, in a starring comedic role “has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone,” she said.
“Part of what’s been so great about the class is that we’ve taken the time to learn the context and draw new meaning from the text, actually understanding what the lines mean as opposed to just memorizing and reciting the words,” said Kendall. That understanding is especially important in “Twelfth Night” because it’s a comedy, and if the actors don’t get the words, they — and the audience — won’t be able to get the jokes.
Not to worry, Kendall said.
“The whole experience has been a lot of fun, and it’s a funny show.”
Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday April 25, 26 and 27, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Advanced tickets $5 and available here, or $10 at the door.
Cast and Crew List
Viola — Sam L.** & Amelia L.*
Olivia — Sarah B.* & Sophie M.**
Maria — Malia C.** & Tess M.*
Sir Toby Belch — Skyler W.
Sir Andrew Aguecheek — Rohan K.** & Laurel M.*
Malvolio — George W.
The Fool — Kendall K.* & Charley W.**
Orsino — Justin K.
Valentine — Rohan K.* & Laurel M.**
Curio — Mira H.
Sebastian — Linnea W.** & Mira H.*
Antonio — Frannie T.
Captain — Taamir B.Y.
Priest — Taamir B.Y.
Officers — Sarah B. & Taamir B.Y.
* — Thursday and Saturday night
**— Friday night and Saturday matinee
Director — Kristin Wolanin
Stage Manager — Christopher M.
Assistant Stage Manager — Adrien W.
Scenic Artist — Diane Wilikofsky
Lighting Design — Barry Fritz
Master Electrician — Hayden F.
Sound Designers — Justin K. & Skyler W.
Sound Technician — Piper S.
Production Props Mistress — Linnea W.
Production Props Assistants — Taamir B.Y., Malia C., Mira H.
Props Run Crew — Anthony P. & Thomas W.
Production Costumes Crew — Kendall K., Rohan K., Sam L., Laurel M., Sophie M., Tess M.
Costumes Mistress — Katrina F.
Costumes Run Crew — Laura B., Sarah H., Maya R., Sadi S.
House Manager — Jack K.
Usher — Sarah H.
Box Office Production Crew — Frannie T., Amelia L.
Box Office Crew — Carly C., William M., David W.
Set Crew — Shakespeare Class
Publicity Crew — Sarah B., Justin K., George W., Charley W.
The children of Lower School delighted their audience with “Children of the World,” a multicultural medley of song and dance numbers from Germany, Japan, South Africa and more.
“I love him,” Wolanin swooned. “In undergrad I first fell in love with him and I saw ‘The Imaginary Invalid’ and ‘The Misanthrope’ and, of course, ‘Tartuffe.’ ‘Tartuffe’ is my favorite. It’s just…”
With that, Director Kristin Wolanin trailed off in smiling reverie. The “him” she fell in love with is Molière, one of the French language’s greatest playwrights, whose comedies have remained popular since the 17th century and continue to grace stages around the world.
The curtain will rise on the Lancaster Country Day theater troupe’s production of “Tartuffe” at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 1-3, with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, Nov. 3. Advance tickets are $7 and available here. They will be $10 at the door.
Written in 1664, “Tartuffe” has left a lasting impression on both French and English, with the name of its main character entering the lexicon as a byword for a religious hypocrite or someone who puts on ostentatiously virtuous airs.
“Tartuffe is a piece of work,” Wolanin said, going easy on the play’s titular pious fraud, who cons and swindles and attempts to corrupt every other character in the play. “He’s selling salvation and the rest of the characters so blindly believe that this guy is their salvation. Until they’re forced to learn otherwise.”
In bringing to life a story written in another language more than three and a half centuries ago, the cast faced a daunting challenge, but the main difficulty came neither from the translation nor cultural distance. What makes “Tartuffe” particularly tricky to perform in a naturalistic way is that the entire play is composed in rhyming couplets.
“Getting the rhythm of the dialogue right has been probably the hardest part for everybody, but when they get there and it just flows and they’re comfortable with it, it’s beautiful,” said Wolanin. “I love that it was written in 1664 and still feels timely. And timeless.”
One thing that’s not timeless is fashion, but for this production, Wolanin opted to be true to the period, decking the cast in full Louis XIV-era regalia. To help get the look right, the school partnered with Millersville University for its costumes, which don’t skimp on the powdery wigs or frilly frocks.
A skill that was vital for the actors to master, and that will be just as important for the audience, is listening closely. While someone in the course of regular talking could speak in iambic pentameter without it sounding stilted, the odds of that person communicating in extemporaneous rhyming couplets are decidedly slimmer.
But Wolanin promises that the audience’s close listening will be rewarded.
“I want people to come away thinking about whether they’re being Tartuffed somehow,” Wolanin said. “It might make people squirm. But funny squirming.”
“Tartuffe,” 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 1-3, with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, Nov. 3. Advance tickets are $7 and available here. They will be $10 at the door.
“Tartuffe” Cast & Crew
Orgon — David W.
Elmire — Kendall K.
Damis — Laurel M.
Mariane — May B.
Madame Pernelle — Mira H.
Valere — Hayden F.
Cleante — Ben K.
Tartuffe — Thomas W.
Dorine — Adrien W.
Flipote — Amelia L.
The Officer of the King — Tess M.
M. Loyal — Frannie T.
Production Stage Manager — Malia C.
Assistant Stage Managers — Kylie D. and Joan M.
Sound Designers — Grace F. and Piper S.
Sound Run — Piper S.
Props Mistress and Run — Gaby N.
Props Crew — Mira H., Tess M., Maya R. and Linnea W.
Props Run — Linnea W.
Lead Set Design — Carly C.
Set Crew/Stage Crew — Julia B., Riyley E., Amelia L., Piper S., Adrien W. and Linnea W.
Publicity Chief — Charley W.
Costume Mistress and Run — Katrina F.
Costume Crew — Julia B., Sam L., Sarah H., Amelia L., Christopher M., Julia N., Sadi S., Frannie T. and Adrien W.
Costume Run — Amelia L., Christopher M., Julia N. and Sadi S.
Master Electrician and Run — Justin K.
Box Office Manager and Run — Amelia S.
Box Office Assistant and Run — Sophie M.
House Manager and Run — Maya R.
Ushers — Julia B., Carly C., Riley E., Sam L., Grace F. and Sarah H.
Photos by Mrs. Wilcox, Lauren N. ’19 and Carly C. ’19
Last week’s Spring Arts Festival was a celebration of all things creative at LCDS, featuring more than 200 pieces of student-curated art, performances from Middle and Upper school dance troupes, Sarah F. ’18 on harp, the Finley and Jonathan clarinet duo, Poetry Out Loud and jazz band.