I once lived with a theatre major and she would often ramble about Shakespeare and some play she had to direct. Other than some vague facts and a couple of one-liners, I could tell you everything I know about theatre and opera in two sentences: Romeo and Juliet was the worst rom-com ever written, and operas remind me of those J.G. Wentworth commercials.
Regardless, I also love doing new things. When I heard OSU was putting on an opera, I immediately cleared up my Tuesday evening schedule in order to have the time to go see it! The Marriage of Figaro, directed by Marc Callahan, was held at the new Learning Innovation Center (LInC), and that only peaked my excitement for this play. I’ve been wanting to see that amphitheater-looking room I’d seen on the website. But alas, we sat in a regular room with a regular stage and regular seats in front of the stage instead of around it.
I didn’t stay salty about the room, but I was caught a little off guard when I realized the entire play was going to involve singing. Not just singing, but opera singing. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect, but it was not that, stupidly enough. I have enough trouble knowing what’s going on in theatre plays because of how complex and symbolic and English the language is, now I’d be lucky if I understood the plot. Luckily, though I was able to get the gist of it. Low key, though, I later looked up an explanation to see what was really up.
So I guess this important dude, the Count (Played by David Zielke), wants to bump uglies with Figaro’s new boo, played and sung by Mason Cooper,
and that in itself leads everyone to lie and scheme on each other. People start hiding each other in closets, everyone’s trying to get at each other and financially screw one another over. This family is just a mess, that’s what I got out of it. This workshop only acted out two of the four acts from the play, so in my very extensive five-minute research of the play, I later learned that the gold digging lady, Marcellina (Played by Larissa Zens, and Diana Alarcon), was actually prowling on her own son. It creeped me out at first but then I remembered that old plays like this are, for some reason, obsessed with incest, soI’ve moved on.
I don’t know if this had to do with the metaphoric development of the play, or if it was just a director’s choice, but it took me a while to catch on to the fact that multiple actors were playing one character. It wasn’t until curtain call that I noticed Susanna had five faces, as well as a couple other actors. Another occurrence that had me rolling my eyes was Cherubino’s character. Cherubino was played by Blair Bowmer, Anna Patch and Sara Engle, so when they first appeared on stage, I thought the character was a lesbian. I was super excited and I felt like I finally had a connection with the play. Then it was later revealed that Cherubino was actually a horny teenage boy trying to get at the Countess, played by Clarissa Clark and Grace Weaver. It was disappointing, but all of those singers had amazing voices, so I’m not even mad.
If you are not familiar with operas, I suggest you go to one. Keeping up with all the events going on through dramatic singing is perhaps the most entertaining thing to watch, right after a telenovela or the show Cops. It’s a different experience, it’s like the melodies and depth of singing reaches into your soul and forces you to feel things you didn’t even think your dead soul could feel. The Marriage of Figaro’s was a one-time show, but if you ever have the chance of watching it, the whole thing, I suggest you see it. Especially if it’s in the amphitheater room of the LInC building.