By Paige Shermis
Raucous, crafty and based on a play that’s 325 years old, Scapin is not only drenched in hilarity, but is a poignant tribute to the late Professor of Drama Thomas Turgeon by its director, Professor of Drama Jonathan Tazewell.
Adapted by lauded playwrights Bill Irwin and Mark O’Donnell, Scapin is based on French dramatist Moli?re’s 17th-century play Les Fourberies de Scapin.
“This play from the Com?die-Fran?aise [a French state theater] uses stock characters to portray this classic farce,” Tazewell said. “Scapin is a crafty servant who is coerced into getting money from his master and his master’s neighbor to aid their respective sons in secretly marrying two young women.”
Besides serving as pure entertainment, this play possesses a poignant element in that it is dedicated to a beloved, recently deceased Kenyon alum.
“I decided to direct this show as a tribute to Professor Tom Turgeon, who died this year. This was the first production Professor Turgeon directed me in as a student at Kenyon,” Tazewell said.
Moli?re, pseudonym of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, is a fixture of the western literary canon and is considered a master of farce. Also an actor, Moli?re died of tuberculosis while on stage playing a hypochondriac.
Fitting in with his dramatic life, the plot of Moli?re’s Les Fourberies de Scapin (and its adaptation Scapin) is rife with twists and deception, although it is a comedy rather than a tragedy. After Scapin (played by Aaron Lynn ’14) helps Octave (Peter Falls ’14) and L?ander (Harry Hanson ’13) con their respective fathers out of large sums of money to marry the penniless Hyacinthe (Allie Lembo ’14) and Zerbinette (Meg Sutter ’13), respectively, he decides to get revenge on Geronte (Elliot Cromer ’15), his employer and L?ander’s father. All the while, Scapin employs the services of Sylvestre (Taylor Ross ’13), Octave’s servant, by convincing Sylvestre that he is an incredibly gifted actor.
The remaining cast members are Matt Super ’15, Natalie Margolin ’14, Ned Vogel ’15, Ben Kress ’14 and Cheyenne Davis ’15.
“Scapin manages to get the best of all the wealthy aristocrats while avoiding any significant punishment,” Tazewell said.
In addition to providing students with an adaptation of a classic French comedy, the play may serve as a de-stressing outlet for Kenyon students.
“[Scapin is] a madcap comedy. Total silliness. A fantastic ensemble cast. A perfect show for decreasing stress,” Tazewell said.
The slapstick content of Scapin presented a challenge for the 12-person cast.
“Physical comic performances of this sort are tough and require sustained high energy,” Tazewell said.
As for the title, it is pronounced “Sca-pah,” with the final “n,” in typical Gallic tradition, being silent.12
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