Osbourn High School's convincing 'King Stag'
Long before computer-generated images and the blockbuster smash “Avatar,” someone else was toying around with the idea of inhabiting another being’s body in the name of science fiction. In 1762, Carlo Gozzi’s “King Stag” considered the possibility of a deer and the man who takes over its body almost to chaotic, confusing and comedic perfection. Recently, Osbourn High School revived the play in their production.
Far away in space and time is the land of Serendip—a magical kingdom ruled by Prince Deramo (Steven Field). The prince is desperately searching through female subjects for a woman to make his queen. He relies on a lie-detecting stone bust (Brandon Frowen) to eliminate women who do not truly love him. Like American Idol judge Simon Cowell on a particularly unrelenting power trip, Deramo goes through nearly three thousand ladies before settling on Angela (Maddy Thomas). Unfortunately for him, this decision enrages Tartaglia (Drew Binkley), whose daughter was passed over as queen. Tartaglia exacts his revenge after Deramo shows him how to take control of a dead animal’s body. Tartaglia tricks Deramo into a stag’s body and steals the king’s body, setting off an irresistibly griping chain of events.
Osbourn’s cast created an exciting dynamic, fueled by the believable performances of the many bizarre, uncultivated characters of the play. Sarah Barlow’s portrayal of the impossibly peculiar Smeraldina was pleasantly over-the-top and exhilarating. On the opposite end of the exuberance spectrum was Frowen as the magical bust. He expertly maintained the composure of a statue while incorporating subtle humanoid movements, thereby becoming a highly entertaining piece of art. Scott Meadows and Bryan Croson also contributed to the mystical madness as the palace guards. Field took on the role of the self-reflective, less self-indulgent Deramo, in a down-to-earth performance.
Set designers Monica Carlson and J.C. Nigh created the world of Serendip and the forest palace with a hint of surrealism. Coupled with various lighting effects, the stage became a convincing setting for the outlandish fairy tale. The intricate animal masks constructed by students Ben Binkley, Monica Carlson and Emily Nelson also helped carry the mood of the play.
Osbourn High School’s “King Stag” was a trophy animal full of mirthful moments, silly slapstick and a dose of magical realism, where the actors seemed to have as much fun as their audience.
Keith Boylan, Posted by Mario Iván Oña
January 20, 2010; 1:57 AM ET
| Tags: Cappies 2010
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