What could be more delightful?
A farce for the ages, “Figaro,” opens 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at Capital High School auditorium for a two-weekend run.
This recently updated “bonbon of a play” has all the ingredients one needs for a night of “gleeful fun,” write critics.
There’s the clever servant Figaro, his lovely fiance Suzanne, the lecherous count Almaviva in hot pursuit of Suzanne, the Count’s smart and beautiful wife Rosine, plus a motley assortment of not-so-bright characters.
Set in the 1780s, the play opens with Figaro and Suzanne preparing for their wedding in the morning.
Figaro is measuring the space for their new wedding bed, a gift from the Count, who just happens to reside with the Countess in the adjoining bedroom.
How convenient Figaro happily tells Suzanne, should the Count or Countess need their assistance at night.
A little too convenient, asserts Suzanne.
It will be all too easy for the Count to corner her in the bedroom whenever he sends Figaro on some long, absurd errand.
Another problem -- they need the Count’s approval for their marriage.
Thus, it’s up to the clever Figaro to outsmart the Count and teach him a lesson.
That’s because it’s the same basic plot of the famous Mozart opera, “The Marriage of Figaro,” based on the 1778 play by Pierre Beaumarchais.
But in this 2013 version, playwright Charles Morey has added a modern “smart and sassy” twist to the humor.
So how does this 1700’s French comedy translate for today’s teenagers?
Hilarious as ever, say the cast.
“They saw it as a fun farce,” says drama teacher Laura Brayko, who was thrilled to find the perfect play for her advanced actors’ spring showcase.
“I thought it was hysterical,” says Brayko of her first reaction to reading it.
There are slamming doors, narrow escapes, characters diving under furniture and out windows, snarky political jokes and no scarcity of sexual innuendo.
And the age-old war between the classes is still timeless.
“It’s just good humor,” says Seth Lang, the CHS senior playing the pompous, lecherous Count Almaviva.
There’s a message, he says, about the differences between classes.
“The Count’s not very smart, but he has influence over a lot of people.
“It’s a fun, very goofy, door-slamming, fast-paced comedy with a little love and romance. There’s a good-heart feeling at the end of the show. You feel good about it.”
Count Almaviva’s foil is his servant, the clever troublemaker Figaro, played by CHS junior Reese Sheldahl.
Figaro is a lot smarter and better read than the Count, says Sheldahl.
Beyond being a troublemaker, Figaro has depth to his character.
“He’s a very heartfelt person,” says Sheldahl, “but after years of abuse he’s grown tormented and angry.”
So, all Figaro needs to do is to scheme “of some way to trap the old weasel.”
“The story is timeless,” he says. “It’s about people with limitless power bullying the people on the bottom...and people on the bottom getting their revenge.”
“Timing is everything,” says Sheldahl of what makes this farce work.
But there’s plenty of mistaken identities, puns and over-the-top characters that add to the hilarity.
The underlying theme, Sheldahl says, is you “can be a smart aleck and revolt and win your own way and have them (those being duped) thank you for it in the end.”
Not only is the play witty, he says, but like the best comedies it has a good moral to the story too.
“I thought it was so clever,” says Natalie Renk, who plays Countess Rosine Almaviva.
“There are so many twists and turns and everything fits together so meticulously. ...It’s hilarious along the way. It’s so timeless -- just come and enjoy it.”
Shows are at 7 p.m. in the Capital High School auditorium. Show dates: April 18-21, 25-27. Doors open at 6:30. Tickets: $8 for students/seniors and $10 for adults and are available at the door or online at chsdc.booktix.com.