The School For Scandal

For their second production of the 2004-2005 season, the Center Theatre Group presents Richard Brinsky Sheridan's "The School For Scandal" at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Directed by Brian Bedford, who himself offers a witty and self-conscious performance as Sir Peter Teazle, "Scandal" reminds us that gossip and the thrill of having news to bear (be it truth, lies, or the middle ground of embellishment) remains irresistible.

The cast of characters that populate Sheridan's world are easily recognizable: the buffoons whose games of one-upmanship hold even skeptical listeners rapt; the devious gossips who hope that the power of knowledge will serve them well in their underhanded plotting; and the skeptics who, like their contemporary counterparts glancing askew at the magazines in grocery checkout lines, simply cannot help but prick their ears sometimes. No matter our relationship with it, we cannot help but acknowledge the pervasiveness of gossip.

With our own present means of communicating and transmitting information, not only has gossip become far easier to disseminate, but there are greater methods of producing the gossip itself. Consider Paris Hilton.

But good Paris has moved on and we now find ourselves again spectators of her misdeeds - voyeurs this time to her zany misadventures with another spoiled rich girl. And lest we forget the proud progenitors of modern television and give too much credit to those sitcom writers who would create comedy out of misunderstandings and sexual innuendo, we must award due credit to the playwrights whose comedic talents preceded the cash cow of TV.

While Desilu's trailblazing three-camera approach changed the direction of (and increased profits for) TV's situation comedies by anticipating the opportunity for syndication, the brand of comedy that marks "I Love Lucy" or, for that matter, "Three's Company" or "Will & Grace," has a very long (and funny) pedigree, evidenced in Sheridan's "Scandal". Notably, Bedford's artistic preference for preserving the late 18th century context for the play only enhances the quality of the comedy - even as spectators may find themselves approximating each character with any one of a number of corresponding individuals from their own contemporary sphere of social interaction.

 

Bedford, a veteran Broadway performer, has himself guest-starred on "Cheers" and "Frasier" and has a gift for the dry, tempered character whose countenance protracts the absurdity of those around him. Bedford's Teazle anchors the show, along with John Cunningham as Sir Oliver Surface and Ted Barton as Moseley. Whirling furiously around these characters are the beautifully exaggerated likes of Edward Hibbert's Crabtree, Marianne Muellerleile's Mrs. Candor, Carolyn Seymour's Lady Sneerwell, and Don Reilly's Joseph Surface. And while the show has its snickering moments throughout, prepare to laugh more heartily after intermission, when the momentum of the plot really kicks in and the characters' commentary begins to ring with greater familiarity. After all, familiarity enriches the value of gossip.
 
"The School for Scandal" runs through January 23, 2005 with shows Tuesday through Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 7:30 pm, Sat and Sun matinees at 2:30 pm and no performances on Mondays. Ticket prices are $34 - $52 (with Public Rush, Senior, and Student discounts available) and can be purchased through the Center Theatre Group box at the Music Center, by calling CTG Audience Services at 213-628-2772, or by logging on to www.marktaperforum.org. For group sales, call 213-972-7231. The Mark Taper Forum is located at 135 North Grand Avenue in Los Angeles at the Music Center.

Top of Page

lasplash.com
Join Splash Magazines

Feature Article

Tempflow™ and Tempur-Pedic® Reviews - What 35 Hours of Research Uncovered

Want Your Business to Male a Splash
<!-- #wrapper -->