Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Osbourn High School King Stag

By • Jan 18th, 2010 • Category: Cappies

While many think of Shakespeare when they hear of a devious fairy, a metamorphosis, and mismatched lovers, Osbourn High School’s whimsical production of Carlo Gozzi’s 18th century play, King Stag, told a very different story.

Maddy Thomas and Steven FieldIn a kingdom far, far away, King Deramo sets up a series of interviews with eligible women in his kingdom to find a wife. Deramo’s Prime Minister Tartaglia force his daughter, Clarissa, to take part in this contest. She loves Leander, the son of another of Deramo’s advisors, and therefore lies when she is asked if she loves the king. Deramo is aware of her dishonesty, for he possesses a magical bust that smiles when one is lying. The only woman who passes his test of integrity is Angela, Leander’s sister. Tartaglia is envious of the king and had attempted to get his daughter to marry him in order to secure the throne for himself. He learns of a spell that allows for one person to live in the body of another being and tricks Deramo into becoming a stag. Further magic and mayhem ensue.

This complicated story line was narrated through entertaining body language and fast-paced dialogue. While occasionally a bit confusing, the audience was able to follow the body switches and plot twists. A few standout storytellers include Emily Nelson, who played a servant of Deramo, and Steven Field, who played Deramo himself.

The actors’ embodiment of the characters was hilarious. Sarah Barlow’s portrayal of the corpulent flirt Smeraldina and James Davis’ Truffaldino, the court bird catcher, earned much laughter throughout the show.

The highly creative technical aspects of the show added to the exotic feel of the story. Each character was adorned with colorful costumes that seemed to be straight out of the pages of an Asian storybook. The stags (Brandon Frowen and Scott Meadows) were outfitted in masks and stilts and were immediately recognizable with their realistic gallop. The show opened with a scene done in silence followed by a score reminiscent of the popular “Jai Ho,” and included many other interesting musical interludes, all placed into the show by Ben Binkley.

King Stag is a conceptually difficult piece from a technical standpoint, but the technical crew handled it splendidly with Monica Carlson’s design of an effective and imaginative set. In the scene with Deramo’s interviews and the smiling bust, a tree was transformed into a table behind which stood Brandon Frowen covered in white. Manipulations such as these made it easy to discern the setting of each scene.

Inventive and fun to watch, Osbourn’s King Stag would make even the most solemn statue crack a smile.

by Hannah Rak of G. C. Marshall

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