Based on Moliere's Scapin the Schemer, this version of Scapin (pronounced skah-PAN, because it's French) is very playful and set in a time and place outside of reality. There are love stories, long lost children, arranged marriages, and unhappy parents. As a framing device, the wonderful six-person cast sings an intro and conclusion that explains the story and set-up, which I found to be quite charming. This helps the uninitiated with all of the plot twists, as does the color coding of the families (Madame Arlene, her son Octave, and servant Sylvester all wear blue, while Mr. Gary, his son Leo, and servant Scapin all wear green, in bright and playful costumes by Sonya Berlovitz). When buddies Octave and Leo fall in love with the wrong women while their parents are away, they call upon the smart and conniving Scapin to help them.
I always want my first exposure to a classic piece of theater to be through TTT, because they make it understandable, relatable, modern, and fun. There are several references to current events, with language that feels natural (and silly). With all the lights on, the cast has a ton of fun with each other and the audience, asking us to hold an imaginary knife or represent a character referred to. There's nothing serious about this one, it's all silliness and wonder.
|the cast of Scapin (photo by Paula Keller)|
Seeing a Ten Thousand Things show makes me happier than just about anything, especially when it's a wild and silly romp like this one. I can't even imagine what effect this much light has on the dark places they visit (like prisons and homeless shelters). What more important work is there than that?
Scapin continues through November 4, with paid performances at Open Book on Washington Ave. in Minneapolis and free shows around the area. Recommended if you need to laugh and connect for a brief 90 minutes or so.