Scaramouch in Naxos
UCF Performing Arts Center Courtyard
by Carl F. Gauze
Written by John Davidson
Directed by Christopher Niess
Musical Direction by Nora Lee Garcia
It’s about a pretty a day as you can have in Central Florida: upper sixties, a breeze and a clear blue sky with a few accent clouds and a half moon looking for its mate. On mother Earth, we theater fans sit each in our chalk-marked “Circles of Survival” while we wait for a Greek style tragedy to begin. We are now in a wood where Scaramouch (Maddy La Roche) runs into his old buddy Bacchus (Drew Stark). They debate the meaning of life and should they put up a show? Meanwhile young Ione (Juniper O’Hara) wanders down to the shore, and sheds tears for want of a lover. No problems, some cute God appears, and the kids flirt as much as you can in a PG rated show. But wait – her pompous father Glaucus (Seamus Lea Daugherty) appears to object to this mixed marriage. When a human dates a God, it’s a scandal. Mixed marriages always have that issue, and as they say: Where with they send the kids to school? Glaucus is flattered by Scaramouch who suggests Glaucus might be a God himself. This changes the calculus and the young couple are sent on their happy way. You gotta love the social climbers in these Greek shows. Clearly Scaramouche encouraged Glaucus’s social climbing, it’s the comedic heart of the show.
“Comedy Della Arte” it says on the poster, and Comedy Dell Arte it it. The sets are minimal, costumes are suggestive more than realistic, and you can guess the plot from a mile away. The entertaining comes from the personal moral failings of the cast: alcoholism, sexual harassment and puffed up vanity all work as plot points. Actors are miked so we can hear them over the breeze and a small trio lurking behind some sculpture gives us background music. We even get a royal visit; but this king must carry his own cardboard chariot and hope it doesn’t blow away in the breeze. Theatrical minimalism keeps you focused on the romance, and who has a real budget for sets anymore these days? While we are nowhere near a packed house the sound was good and this fun piece keeps us all in the game. The good news is all the other area colleges are slowly offering shows, even with tough technical constraints. Soon it might even be safe to have a bar open.