Spring play '10: A preview of "Wild Oats"
Published: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - 1:46pm
What: "Wild Oats," written by James McLure and directed by fine arts teacher Barbara Ridenour, is this year's spring play, a comedy set in the Wild West
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: North Attic Playhouse, Uni High
How Much: $7 for students, senior citizens, faculty; $8 for other adults
What to Expect: Critics have described the play as "a slambang, wildly funny farce which provides both a field day for performers, and an experience of sheer delight for audiences"
Note: The Online Gargoyle is pleased to announce the debut of Uni News Podcasts, produced by freshmen Abbi Frings, Ella Lubienski, and Evan Ramos. Please click the audio box below to listen to their report on this year's spring play, "Wild Oats."
Spring Play Preview 2010
Freshmen Abbi Frings, Ella Lubienski, and Evan Ramos preview "Wild Oats" in the debut of Uni News Podcasts.
Click to listen (4:33)
The comedy, directed by fine arts teacher Barbara Ridenour, will make its Uni debut at 7 p.m. Thursday, and the show will be performed again 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Written by James McLure, "Wild Oats" features 29 roles, including a piano player, gamblers, cowboys, dance hall girls, a simpleton, and a bear.
Ridenour was not deterred by the large number of roles required for the production; in fact, she embraced the challenge.
"This play called for a big cast, but several roles could be doubled — that is, one actor could play several parts," she said. "But I decided not only to cast all the roles individually, but to add an extra ensemble as well."
She also added songs and dances, making it an even bigger production. The scale of the play presented challenges and opportunities.
"The dancing was really nerve-racking at first because we would all run into each other," said junior Kahlilah Cooke, who plays Jane Gammon.
Before this week, the cast rehearsed from 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays during most of February and March (excluding spring break).
Now that tech week has begun, cast members have stepped up their pace even more, with practices that run from 5 to 10 p.m.
"As always, they [rehearsals] progress nicely into a frantic but enjoyable tech week, where everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress," said senior Ethan Schiller, who plays Harry Thunder. "Eventually it all comes together!"
McLure, an American playwright, adapted "Wild Oats" from Irish author John O'Keeffe's 1791 drawing-room comedy of the same name.
The Americanized version that Uni will perform debuted in Los Angeles in 1983 and takes place in the Wild West rather than 18th-century England.
"It is a comedy that has the earmarks of an old-fashioned melodrama," said Ridenour.
In the play, a retired army colonel (senior Zack Goldberg) with his Irish-Indian scout look for three dastardly deserters. The colonel has a son, Harry (Schiller), who has been kicked out of West Point and has become an actor.
Harry has a friend, a fellow actor named Rover (sophomore Will Erickson), who falls in love with Kate (senior Nora Peterson), the colonel's niece. The colonel wants Harry to marry Kate, but she has fallen in love with Rover, whom she thinks is Harry.
Other characters include an evil landlord, a lecherous preacher, a kindly Mexican tenant and his sister, who was abandoned by her husband and lost her son somewhere out West.
With critics describing the play as "a slambang, wildly funny farce which provides both a field day for performers, and an experience of sheer delight for audiences," there's plenty of fun for the Uni community to look forward to when "Wild Oats" takes center stage this weekend.
CAST & CREW: "WILD OATS"
- Piano Player: Daniel Cheng
- Bartender: Chris Yoder
- Innkeeper's Daughter: Hadley Hauser
- Liberty: Jack Gillette
- Wilson: Aaron Wilson
- Angel Eyes: Ben Zehr
- Colonel Croftus Thunder: Zack Goldberg
- Corporal Crow: Cameron Cornell
- Ephraim Smooth: Andrew LaPointe
- Kate Thunder: Nora Peterson
- Harry Thunder: Ethan Schiller
- Muz: Vivian Robison
- Jack Rover: Will Erickson
- Ike Gammon: Jared Doyle
- Sim Gammon: Danny Ge
- Jane Gammon: Kahlilah Cooke
- Señor Morales: Charlie Newman-Johnson
- Sheriff: Maia Gersten
- Mr. Kleigl: Arch Robison
- Mr. Leko: Evan Ramos
- Amelia Dolores Morales: Anna Gooler
- Marshall: Stirling Hobgood
- Bear: Chris Yoder
- Gamblers, Cowpokes, Dancehall girls, etc.:Mary Campbell, Izzy Fitzpatrick, Sam LeRoy, Ella Lubienski, Charlotte Popetz, Kate Popetz, Emmanuel Pratt-Clarke, Max Sigalov, Kaila Simpson, Alex Valdez, Tianna Pittenger
- Sound effects: Stirling Hobgood, Andrew Ferguson
- Set designer: Margarita Mouschovias
- Stage manager: Tianna Pittenger
- Assistant stage manager: Greta Goldbart
- Assistant director: Stef Senior
- Costume, hair and makeup: Mary Stasheff
- Choreographer: Alicia Engelhardt
- Lights: Adam Joseph
Synopsis of "Wild Oats"
The Playwrights Database includes this description of the play:
Switching the locale of the action from the drawing room of Restoration England to the saloons and prairies of the Old West, and transforming the characters from scheming servants and lustful gentry to music hall girls and stalwart cavalrymen, the playwright holds onto the hilariously convoluted structure which has made the original play a timeless delight. [As Variety] puts it: "Plot elements include standard mistaken identities, long lost son reunited with parents, long estranged parents finding each other, evil landlord foreclosing at the drop of a tumbleweed, an F Troop type of cavalry, an Indian guide who speaks with an Irish brogue, a crusty colonel who's planted progeny all over the Wild West, a hero who stops a speeding train with one hand, a lustful and slithery preacher, a foppish son who's been kicked out of more military schools than he can count, ad histrionicum." And so it goes — resulting happily enough, in a slambang, wildly funny farce which provides both a field day for performers, and an experience of sheer delight for audiences.