The “game” is on as servants attempt to depict masters, masters attempt to depict servants, and everyone falls in love with the (seemingly) wrong person in “The Game of Love and Chance,” which will open for a three-night engagement on Thursday, Feb. 16 in Bartlett Theatre.
Directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Chris Hatch, the cast is comprised of Jarrid Blades ’12, Eric Hambury ’13, Amy Van Loon ’14, Eleanor McKay ’14, Lorcan Jowers ’14, Kim Bellier ’14 and Jordan Youngmann ’10.
Originally written by French playwright, Pierre de Marivaux, the play follows Monsieur Orgon (Jowers) as he decides that his daughter, Silvia (Van Loon), should get married to Dorante (Youngmann), the son of a friend. However, when Silvia hears of her father’s decision, she receives his permission to change places with her servant (McKay), so that she can observe her potential fiancé at a safe distance. Unbeknownst to Silvia, Dorante has done the same thing with his valet (Hambury).
“Dorante’s valet, Harlequin, is the most outwardly comedic character in the show,” says Hambury, who, for the first time, has been working to develop the movement of his character as much as developing his character. “He tries to be funny and isn’t afraid to make a fool of himself because he wants to make everyone else laugh. This comes through not just his lines but also his movement and physicality. So in order to bring this out I’ve been doing work on his walk, poses, and gestures.”
Additional characters include Mario (Blades), Silvia’s brother, and the maid/company manager (Bellier).
“With amazing romance and slapstick scenes, this play is going to be funny,” says Hatch, who notes that he is unafraid to have the audience come in with high expectations. “I don’t care how bad of a mood you’re in when you come into the theatre, we will make you laugh.”
However, this play is not all laughter and comedy, as Hatch himself recognizes, noting that Marivaux was known as a social commentator, injecting the issues of the time into his plays.
“Amidst all the comedy, love and laughing, there are these moments when the playwright is making the commentary that there is a class problem,” explains Hatch, who notes that, although the play was written in 1730s France, it will resonate with the campus because many of those same class issues continue to exist in the world today.
Although the play is more than 250 years old, Hatch has made every effort to bridge the gap between Marivaux and the college students who will make up the majority of the audience, both through the introduction of modern references and the use of modern music during the course of the play. In spite of all of Hatch’s efforts to make this play the best it can be, in the end, he credits the actors with making this play the comedy it was meant to be.
“My favorite part of the play is changing almost every night,” confesses Hatch. “That is largely due to the actors and how they’re making the script and my ideas come alive. Anything I came up with in my head has only gotten a lot better when infused with their artistry.”
“The Game of Love and Chance” will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, Friday, Feb. 17 and Saturday, Feb. 18 in the Bartlett Theatre in Coxe Hall. Tickets are $5 general admission, and free to HWS students, faculty and staff. Tickets will be available from the box office in Coxe Hall beginning at 6:30 p.m. each night.