Badger High mixes humor and history
By Donna Lenz Wright/The Week
(Published Jan. 26, 2007, 9:38 a.m.)
Keeping with the Badger High School's thespian theme for the year, the players will once again be in ancient Rome, performing "The Last Gladiator" by Martin Follose, following last fall's performance of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."
"I try to do a themed season of productions," said Laura Shotliff, director. "I liked (this script's) goofy mixture of ancient Rome and slapstick. I also liked how it connected modern day conveniences--dimes for parking meters, Nyquil and coffee--with the idea of legends of old being fulfilled."
As the show opens, Rome is at war. The emperor, portrayed by Andrew Gruber, is away fighting with most of the mighty senators of the city.
The selfish princess, played by Ailish Montague, is dreading her fate of marrying the last gladiator standing after the battle--most likely the muscle-bound moron Brudis, played by Colton Preo --if she doesn't find a suitable husband beforehand.
Rather than fighting with the other senators of Rome, top-ranking and cowardly Senator Altilis, played by Will Hancock, is home pressuring the princess to fulfill her obligation so he can have the power he desperately wants that would go along with the union.
Through clever plot twists, fast-paced dialogue and humor, the story unwinds as the princess devises a plan to help simple-minded Gladius, a peasant thief played by Kevin Jennison, win the games, in turn, buying her time to get out of her predicament.
As the plot pans out, the relationship between Gladius and the princess becomes the real thing--love.
"It's a very sweet non-threatening romantic entanglement for our leading lady and gentleman," Shotliff said.
The kids are enjoying the script because it is very light," Shotliff says. "(There are) no deep motivations--everything is pretty surface level. It gives them the opportunity to focus on physicalizing character development, sometimes something that falls short when dealing with characters who hide a lot of things or have elevated motivations to play."
Nearly all aspects of designing and constructing, including costumes, are being done by the Theatre Practicum students, Shotliff said.
"These 10 students are among the top theater performers and technicians that Badger has. In some cases, actors are stretching themselves and working as designers and construction crew to see how the other half lives."
"The Last Gladiator" runs Feb. 1-3, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $3 each and can be purchased only at the door the 30 minutes prior to curtain. For more information, call 348-2000 ext. 2722.
Minimus - Michael Gieron
Lady - Paige Druszczack
Julia - Kathryn Hausman
Princess - Ailish Montague
Maid - Katie Porter
Altilis - Will Hancock
Messenger - Patrick Connors
Impella - Tierney Butler
Verbalina - Bridget O'Neill
Sasilla - Rebecca Weglarz
Laffina - Erin Frazier
Attendant - Heather Bertram
Brudis - Colton Preo
Fina - Jillian Hovden
The Emperor - Andrew Gruber
|© 2006 The Week Extra. All rights reserved.|