THE KING STAG theatre review

by DICK KEREKES
The Stanton College Preparatory School Drama Department presented Italian Playwright Carlo Gozzi’s fairy tale The King Stagon September l6 & l8 for three performances.
This version was an English translation by Carl Wildman, and featured original music by Stanton students Pamela Burchard and Scott Trinkle.
The plot concerns King Deramo (Will Baxley) of the Kingdom of Serendipo. Deramo is searching for a wife (reminded me of Cinderella), and has interviewed 2,750 women so far but has found no one he deems good enough and most women were after this wealth. The daughter of one of his government officials, Pantalone (Taylor English), Angela is in love with the King and he seems to favor her but is not sure. One of his chief officers, Tartaglia (Nathan Dennis) is pure evil (and he dresses in black all the time just to show it), wants Angela for himself and wants the king to pick his sister, Clarice (Jessica Alvarez) as his wife. Using magical spells,Tartaglia takes over Deramo’s body and put him into a stag and turns him loose into a forest where they hunt for game.
To cut the quick Tartaglia turns himself into the King, and Angela must find the real King, which she does and all is well. The story reminded me of some for the opera plots, somewhat complex and at times difficult to figure who was who.
All the characters were masked and dressed in mostly colorful clothing. The colorful and intreguing masks were created by Tayor English. The costumes were designed by Zoe Feezor, with the assistant of the costume crew, Alyssa Cabrea, Vanessa Glomo, Kaitlin Ramirez and Alyssa Stubbs.
My favorite costumes were the Parrot (Paul Cancel), Truffaldino the bird catcher (Tiernan Middleton) and Smeraldina (Shannon Smith). They were the most colorful. The only role I could have possibly played was The Bust ( Obioma Ezinwa), which was as the name implies, a statue that was coated in bronze and possessed magical powers. Why is it my choice, no lines to learn?
Others in the cast included: The Commedia Troupe was Caylen Berry, Shala Brewer, Daniel Fischer, Jade McBroom, and Sarah Schaet.Cicolotti (Cori Clark), Brighella (Alexander Farabee) Leandro (Kolsen Bender) Bear (Bo Phelan) The King Stag (Emily Iannotti) Stag # 2 (Madi Lahey) Old Man (Jordan Herriff) Guardsman/huntsmen (Amal Kamal, Whitney Pietrykowski, and William Tiner. Directed by Jessica Besecker, with Shari Swift as Stage Manager.
The play was staged in Stanton’s black box theatre, with a thrust stage and seating on 4 sides of the action. The acting was good. There were times when the projection could have been better and it was hard to hear. This mainly occurred when a character had to walk with their back to the audience and speak dialogue at the same time.
If I had to pick the best projection by a cast member, it would be Nathan Dennis as the evil guy Tartaglia. He spoke with authority at all times.
My only suggestion for a play of this type in the future is the same advice I give to any theatre doing Shakespeare. Have a printed plot summary either in the program or a sheet with information available where you pick up your tickets.
Stanton does some interesting theatre, if you have a chance try to catch performances. They will make it easy for you in December, when they will do the musical comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum on stage at Theatre Jacksonville in San Marco December 2 -4. On February l0-12, the hilarious farce Lend Me A Tenor will also be presented on the Theatre Jacksonville stage and all performances are open to the public
Thanks Stanton, for an interesting evening with one of the world’s classics.

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