The ACS Middle School Drama stars shined bright in their three performances of The Love of Three Oranges on February 4 and 5 in the upper school auditorium.
With their energy and skillful interpretation, the students spread laughter among the audience and pride among their parents.
The play follows the commedia dell’arte genre of comedy, developed in Italy during the 16th century. A type of boisterous, exaggerated and physical comedy combined with absurd situations, commedia dell’arte, is considered the precursor of modern-day slapstick.
“I wanted to do something that had a lot of physical comedy in it,” Middle School Teacher and Director Sharon Rodgers explained. “I wanted students to really challenge each other and explore the physical aspect of acting and have a lot of fun while doing characterizations.”
The Love of Three Oranges was the perfect choice. It is an old story about a sickly, sad and lonely young prince named Tartaglia who cannot laugh. The Queen promises a sack of gold to anyone who can make him laugh. When the prince finally laughs it is at the evil witch Fata Morgana, who curses him to fall in love with three oranges, who, of course, just happen to be princesses. The prince discovers love, friendship and laughter in his quest to find his oranges with his jester companion Truffaldino.
All of the 35 students involved rose to the challenge set by their director in this hilarious, fourth-wall-breaking play. The chemistry between characters was evident from the comical opening act of getting the audience to cheer the characters to life on stage until the closing argument between the omnipotent witch and wizard on whether the play would have a “happily ever after” or a “miserably ever after” ending.
The 35 middle school students worked as a team to put this piece of art together. They were responsible not only for coming up with each character’s personas, but with the makeup, hair, lights, set and costume design, and the music and sound of the play as well.
“At first we were worried because it is such a different style than what we were used to,” said Gilles Hammoud who played Truffaldino. “It required a lot of work from everyone involved. But once we got into our characters and realized which characters had strong chemistry we really fell in love with the whole play.”
It was clear that every member of the cast and crew was truly having fun on stage and it made for an incredibly enjoyable experience for all who attended.
Rodgers made sure everyone knew that the enjoyable experience wouldn’t have been possible without everyone involved: “It takes a community to put on a play; what you see this evening represents months of hard work by our actors, crew and a score of adults who so generously gave their time.”
Art Teacher Nadine Tabbara’s incredible artistry and weeks of work created the amazing costumes (Making three giant orange costumes out of paper is no simple task!) and Social Studies Teacher Tim Livingstone created a magical set that allowed the play to come to life.
All the hard work paid off. And a laughter-filled evening was had by all.
This was exactly what Sharon Rodgers had in mind, reminding everyone: “There is no greater power than that of a laugh, and happiness is a force which can save a person from the horrors of the world.”