The story is inspired by a Tennyson poem and is told in three acts (with two intermissions - take a nap before the show and get some coffee). The first act takes place in the court of King Hildebrand, whose son prince Hilarion was betrothed in infancy to Princess Ida from a nearby land. All are surprised when King Gama arrives and tells them the Princess runs a women's university and will not be arriving. In the second act, we visit the university, where the women study and debate many subjects. Since men are not allowed at the university, and are seen as lesser creatures, Hilarion and two friends disguise themselves as women, and when they are discovered, much havoc ensues. The third act sees the two sides preparing to battle, but ends with a happily ever after.
|Sarah Wind Richens as Princess Ida, with|
Anna Maher, Cassandra Utt, Kaitlin Klemencic,
Sarah Mehle, and Taylor Ann Grand
(photo courtesy of GSVLOC)
Steampunk is a mix of the Victorian and the mechanical, and this production plays it to the hilt. Costumes (designed by Barb Portinga) are gorgeous gowns and suits, but with added elements that push them over the edge into steampunk territory. Every one is different, a difficult task with this many characters. The set (designed by Larry Rostad) has mechanical and whimsical elements (I particularly liked the horizontal/vertical climbing scene).
If you're a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan performed with large cast and orchestra, in a traditional manner with a modern (and steampunk!) twist, then Princess Ida is the show for you. Playing weekends through March 25 at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center attached to Plymouth Congregational Church on Franklin and Nicollet (yes you can park in the lot).