By Kimberly Ortiz
Audiences found themselves in a state of laughter when John Lyly’s original play, Gallathea, was brought to life in the intimate space of the Rider Pub from April 6-10.
Directed by Ivan Fuller, dean of the school of fine and performing arts, the cast of 14 successfully brought smiles and laughter to audiences of all ages. It started with a refreshing warm-up that was performed in front of live audiences prior to the beginning of the play, which soon led to a fun opening dance sequence featuring the music of *NSYNC.
In the first subplot of the play, Gallathea, played by sophomore musical theater major Kayla Matters, is told to by her father, Tityrus, sophomore musical theater major Mariana Saba, that it is time for the fairest virgin to be sacrificed to Neptune’s monster, Agar. Gallathea, disguised as a boy, is able to avoid the sacrifice.
Matters’ performance as the title character was filled with strong emotion, but with enough believability to see her disguised as a boy.
Set in the same subplot, Phillida, played by sophomore musical theater major D’Arcy Green, experiences the same thing. Green’s heartfelt performance kept the audience drawn in when interacting with her father, Melebeus, senior theater performance major Darin Earl. The actors’ father-daughter onstage relationship was a great way to introduce what would soon be a show full of hilarious onstage interactions, between both the characters and audience members.
The second subplot, which soon ties all plots together in the end, was one of mischief and hidden secrets among the characters. Cupid, junior musical theater major Matt Caccamo, sets out to trick Diana, junior musical theater major Caysi Dennis, the Roman goddess of chastity, the moon and the hunt, and her nymphs to ultimately fall in love. Caccamo’s bright personality brought enough positive energy to light up the room. The audience also enjoyed Cupid’s surprise disguise as one of Diana’s nymphs, a happy-go-lucky woman.
Dennis’ Diana was portrayed in a firm and serious manner. This worked well, especially when Diana has to lead four other nymphs, who now, thanks to Cupid, are awestruck and fall in love.
Neptune, the god of the sea, performed by senior theater performance major Alexandria Huntington, was one of Diana’s nymphs. The audience was shown a different side of the character because of Huntington’s own take on such a legendary mythological character. After Cupid shoots all the nymphs, each one is determined to find someone to love.
The third and final subplot, although a bit more confusing, has one of the most comedic sequences in the entire show. Brothers Rafe, sophomore theater performance major Bryan Jahnke; Dick, sophomore musical theater major Brandon Fuller; and Robin, junior theater performance major Danny Gleason, are washed ashore on a strange land and decide to go their separate ways and find their own fortunes in the woods.
Jahnke’s comedic and realistic take on the lost character of Rafe kept the audience wondering what was going to happen next. Through his unsuccessful journeys of becoming an apprentice to an alchemist and an astronomer, Jahnke’s overall performance was one to be remembered, with his focus on creating enough emotional reactions for the audience to see.
As all stories tie together, it is Venus the goddess of love, senior musical theater major Sarah Catherine Carter, who ultimately brings everyone together in the end, specifically Gallathea and Phillida, where they meet once again and decide their fate. Carter’s motherly character connected with the two girls when deciding who should ultimately become a boy. Providing the change to Gallathea, everyone becomes content with the end results and goes their separate ways with their new lifestyles.
With a fun and strong sense of audience participation, the Pub was the perfect location for this small, yet big, play.
Printed in the 4/13/16 edition.