Another option for outdoor theatre popped up last night in Hilliard. The New Players Theater Company opened their festival -The Clown and the Crown- last night with the hilarious Scapin. The stage is located on a little island. To get there, head to the Mill Run Amphitheater at 3500 Mill Run Drive. Park in the lot in front of UALC: The Church at Mill Run and then walk around to the back of the church (the north side) and you will see a brown bridge that leads to the stage.
At first, I was a little worried considering it was still over 90 degrees outside, but the evening could not have been more perfect. If you’d like, there are Adirondack chairs available for $20. Otherwise, bring a chair and a blanket. The seating is mostly in the shade and last night there was a wonderful breeze. The backdrop for the play was especially pretty against the pinks in the sky from the sunset.
Scapin is the modern adaptation of Molière’s neoclassical comedy Les Fourbéries de Scapin (Scapin’s Deceits). The characters are common stock characters of the time – young lovers, miserly old men, and scheming servents.
Todd Covert’s interpretation of the scheming Scapin, a servent to the young man Leander (played by David Tull) is very witty and engaging. His interactions with the other characters are filled with devotion, deceit, and cunning. He and Roger Scott, who plays the other servant Sylvestre, quickly establish a great rapport, bouncing jokes, plots, and pranks off of each other. It’s fun to watch. I last saw Scott in a more serious role in Next Fall and it’s nice to see a lighter, funny character from him.
Austin Andres (Octave) and Tull (Leander) do an entertaining job playing the roles of young men who are still afraid of their respective fathers – Luther Center (Argante) and Scott Willis (Geronte). Both sons are desperate to marry the loves of their lives, much to each father’s dismay. Octave is to marry Geronte’s daughter who is on her way. However, Octave has already married his beloved Hyacinth (Kelly Hogan) and Leander needs money to rescue his beloved Zerbinette (Erin Fisher) from the gypsies. Hyacinth and Zerbinette are tricky names for the other characters who consistently mangle them, which usually made me chuckle.
Geronte is also a scheming character and tells his son Leander he has heard bad things about him from his servant Scapin, who of course finds out and plots a prank against Geronte. Willis’ interpretation of Geronte is a bit over the top, which makes it is fun to see him get his comeuppance from Scapin’s revenge scheme. The prank involves mercenaries from all over the world searching for and attacking Geronte, who is terrified and hides in a bag, but as you can probably guess it is mostly just Scapin pretending and scaring him.
Throughout the play Scapin, Sylvestre interact with the crowd, but a surprise drag scene and an entertaining chase in part two take it over the top.
Does Scapin end up tricking the miserly fathers out of their money so the young boys can marry the loves of their lives? You’ll have to go see to find out!
Scapin is by Bil Irwin and Mark O’Donnell, adapted from Molière. The play is directed by Tim Browning. It is being shown as part of The New Players Theater Festival at the Mill Run Amphitheater, 3500 Mill Run Drive, Hilliard, Ohio 43026. It is pay-what-you-will, but for reference, most productions are generally $20. Cash, check and credit cards are accepted. Remaining performance dates for Scapin are June 22-24, 28-30, July 8, 12-13, 20-22. Showtimes are 8pm. The play is approximately two hours with one 15 minute intermission.
The second half of the festival will feature King Lear by William Shakespeare, directed by Kal Pole. Performances dates for King Lear are July 6-7, 14-15, 19, 26-29, August 2-5 also at 8pm. Visit www.newplayers.org for more information.