After many hard months of memorization and rehearsal, the NIC Drama Department has finally unveiled the “Robber Bridegroom.”
The show captured both the traditional feel and energy of a musical as well as fully accepting the size limitations of the stage into its aura.
Even before the performance began, the ambiance was palpable; soft orange and even softer blue lit the stage with warmth, and when the audio recording of dogs barking quietly played in the background, the decidedly “cozy” stage felt less and less like a theater and more like the inside of a barn.
The show was staged in a classical style, with the audience facing the performers in three separate sections.
It made full use of the space; the energy was tightly contained by the seating arrangement.
This layout boxed in the performers, however, and meant that the only entrance or exit they could use was the rear of the stage. Any other direction led into the audience’s seats.
Given that the show relied heavily on dynamic performances by the cast, any more distance between the players and the observers would result in the energy of the performance being lost. Any less, and the actors and actresses likely would have been forced to move spectators aside.
In the show, the small cast was by no means short of talent or enthusiasm, nor were they guilty of any invasions of personal space, save perhaps each other’s. The story opened with Clement Musgrove, a wealthy Southern plantation owner played by Jesse Hampsch, being accosted by the infamous bandit brother team of Little Harp (Todd Jasmin) and Big Harp (Clyde Mooney). The pair of Harps, the “bigger” of the two’s head contained in a box after his unfortunate demise, plotted Musgrove’s demise to capitalize on his substantial wealth, only to be foiled by Jamie Lockhart (Duncan Menzies).
Lockhart is a criminal as well, but has nothing but disdain for the Harps as they do not steal with style. In the process of saving Musgrove, however, Lockhart is forced to lay down with the dogs, so to speak, sneaking into Musgrove’s room and actually sleeping in the same bed as Musgrove and Little Harp to interrupt the brothers’ plans. The story kept its frantic pace with slapstick and wit. With Musgrove’s second wife Salome (Renei Yarrow) plotting to dispose of Musgrove’s daughter from his first marriage, Rosamund (Alyssa Maurer). With the almost enthusiastic help of Goat (Gustave Lester) and the Harp brothers, Salome sets out to remove Rosamund from the equation, though the daughter has more than enough to cope with after meeting Lockhart.
In the end, the musical was performed with skill and obvious dedication, though such quality did not come without a price.
“There was one task that stood out as the most difficult,” said Duncan Menzies, “it was definitely the blocking.“
There are so many people moving around such a small stage at once. It took a while to get everything planned out.” Despite the long hours rehearsing, however, the leading man had to admit that he very much enjoyed being a part of the musical.
“Oh, it was definitely worth it!” said Alexis Field, Goat’s Mother. “ Yeah, there was a lot of work to do, but it was so much fun, just tiring, too.”
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