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College presents 'The Marriage of Figaro'

'The Marriage of Figaro' - St. Mary's College of Maryland, Bruce Theater

Historic St. Mary’s City – Viva! That is the sound of an epic theatrical performance by students of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Department of Theater, Film and Media Studies during their final show Dec. 11 of the Beaumarchais play, the Marriage of Figaro, directed by Mark A. Rhoda. The marriage between servants Figaro (Alexander Rhoades, 17) and Suzanne (Miranda Hall, 20) has been set, but the notorious womanizing Count (Ryan Rhodes, 19) has another thing in mind.

Scenes were set in Spain and expressed using lively music, captivating detailed colors, lights, 3-dimensional stage props, and uniquely designed costumes that told a story of their own. Designer, Nina Harris received two thumbs up for her creative display of talent showcased for the first time on this level.Rhoda, Hall Harris

Dec. 11, after the performance, Anna Goetzke of Great Mills said, “I loved the play, the lighting was beautiful but mostly the details of the costumes were so cool.” Goetzke said that she attended the final performance to support her best friend, Hall who had a lead role. “I am very proud of her,” she said.

“Designing the costumes took some research and lots of collaborating with the cast,” said Harris. During a performance last year, she told TheBayNet.com her role was the costume manager. Harris said, "I decided to ask my teacher if I could design this year and I was given permission."

This was a big cast and a lot of work. She said, “I have a sense of accomplishment right now.” The entire cast got together and gave me a card of appreciation for how great the costumes turned out.”

Under the creative and free-flowing direction of Rhoda, the cast of 20 successfully translated a script based on sexism, European culture, unconscious behavior and social equality into a fun and interactive journey for a 2016 audience of all ages and races.

Ruth family“Just wonderful - everyone did a fine job,” exclaimed grandmother Majorie Oertel of Centerville who traveled over two hours to support her grandson, J.W. Ruth, in his role as Bazile in the play. Bazile’s animated and expressive character was truly brought to life by Ruth. Proudly Ortel said, “All the kids did great, but of course I think my grandson was the best.”  Ruth has been acting since high school, his mother Gretchen Ruth told TheBayNet.com. “This is what he loves,” she said.

A message of equality was served with a comedic edge that literally had the audience standing next to their seat. This interactive display of talent was received with expressions of shock, cheers, and laughter. Reactions from the audience became more intense with each twist of mad-cap fun and humor.

Director Rhoda described the performance as “very powerful and packed with the idea of feminism in a way you don’t think about.”  He said he was pleased with the hard work and dedication of the cast.

Miranda Hall played the role of Suzanne said, “I live off campus and didn’t have the benefit of rehearsing as much with other cast members. So being disciplined to study my lines at least an hour a day was huge.”  Working together helped to shape a 2016 message with 18th-century concepts. Hall said, “The cast definitely grew closer as we worked together facing  hard subject matter together.”

Hall said, “The play is about feminism, in my opinion.” She said the differences in the European culture of that time period mixed with the character was a new and unique challenge. Hall told TheBayNet.com, “My father is black and my mother, is Dominican and Puerto Rican. I consider myself an African-American Latino woman, who was cast in a role of someone of Spanish ancestry.”  Her character is aggressively pursued by men of European heritage in the play. Hall said, “I don’t have any experience with this, and it was a challenge and a bit scary at first. However, I have learned it is the scary situations that you will ultimately cause your growth.” In addition to acting, Hall is also a performing violinist and cello player.

Contact Shertina Mack at s.mack@TheBayNet.com

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