‘The Game of Love and Chance’ tests societal boundaries in modern adaptation

October 17, 2016

Rachel Librach

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     In Victorian society, class often determined if someone would receive an education, what their career would be and who they would marry.

     In TheatreWorks’ upcoming play, “The Game of Love and Chance,” written by 1700th century French playwright Pierre de Marivaux, class boundaries are tested as characters conceal their true social status and impersonate someone from a different class.

     Students and community members can see the play at the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater from Oct. 20- Nov. 6.

     The characters struggle with being in love with someone who is of a lower class status than they are, according to Murray Ross, artistic director for TheatreWorks.

     “In this play, everyone thinks that they have fallen in love with the wrong person, but in fact because they are all in disguise, they have actually fallen in love with the right person,” said Ross, director of the play.

     “It’s a lot of fun and an interesting play that is full of comedy, psychology, anguish, torment and a happy ending.”

     Ross decided to produce the play, because many of the themes are relevant in today’s society.

     First impressions can be deceiving, and it can be difficult to tell who someone truly is just by first glance, said Ross.

     Students should come see the play for the beautiful costumes, superb acting and a fresh, modern adaptation of the play, according to Ross.

     Class as a deciding factor in who someone could love parallels to race and sexual orientation in today’s society, said freshman undecided major Galen Westmoreland, who plays Monsieur Orgon’s valet.

     “It’s neat looking back on how class played such a huge factor in determining who someone could love and thinking how ridiculous that was. Then you look at today’s boundaries with relationships, and you see a lot of the time, race or gender play a big role in who or how you love someone,” said Westmoreland.

     Four equity actors, three student actors and one local actor make up the eight-person cast.

     Aristocrat Dorante (John DiAntonio) is engaged to marry Silvia (Carley Cornelius), a young female aristocrat. The couple will meet each other for the first time before they are to be married.

     Hesitant that they will dislike the each other, they decide to switch places with their servants, so they can secretly assess their future partner.

     Dorante’s servant Arlequin, (Sammie Joe Kinnett) falls in love with Silvia’s servant Lisette (Caitlin Wise) after switching places with their respective aristocrats.

     The play, set in the 1700s, presented challenges for the actors when the time came to speak like people from this era, according to Kinnett, a junior psychology major.

     “One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to portray this character that is set in the Victorian and commedia style while still trying to allow the character to take on its own life and personality,” said Kinnett.

     Kinnett has worked with TheatreWorks for nine years and has enjoyed his role as a harlequin in this production because they are silly, tricky and foolish.

     “I usually have a very clownish overtone to a lot of my characters, I’m used to a silly character that allows me to spastically run around the stage and be goofy. For this role and particular acting style, known as commedia dell’arte, there had to be a lot more control and precision to the acting,” said Kinnett.

     More information on “The Game of Love and Chance” can be found at theatreworkscs.org.