Of cabbages and kings
Blue Room’s Young Theatre turns in a funny Goldi Locks; Shakespeare in the Park director Henderson talks about Othello
“How does my hair look?” demands Court TV correspondent Sue Grandnoggin in her bright-red dress and matching blazer, microphone held at the ready. “Does it look OK? Oh, we are?” There’s a fleeting flutter of embarrassment, then it’s business as usual: “Welcome back to Bareleya Court!”
And that was just one of the funny caricatures provided by one of director Lisa Schmidt’s talented young cast members, in this case Grace Jacquet as Grandnoggin. Schmidt both wrote and directed this comedy, which gently satirizes daytime TV, particularly court programs and Jerry Springeresque talk shows.
It seems next-door neighbor Goldi Locks (Jessie Candela) is on trial for trespassing, theft and property damage (viz., entering the house uninvited, eating the porridge, and breaking the chair) after she is caught red-handed on the premises of the slightly snooty Bair family (Adam Rose, Abigail Clark and Alyssa Garcia as Mr., Mrs. and Baby Bair, respectively). The Locks family (Karley Smith, Janelle Gaddy and Sebastian Valencia as Lucinda, Dot and Pic) comes off like prime guests on a Springer episode, complete with mock white-trash accents. Representing each side in the case are two slick lawyers, Ms. Hyjenks (Cypress Durkin) and Ms. Meek (Lily Zhao), the whole thing officiated by Judge Bareleya (Moriah Ford).
Once more, Schmidt has provided a funny script and brought the best out of her young performers, my favorites here being Candela, Gaddy and Valencia as the ne’er-do-well Locks family, Jacquet as the bubbly reporter, and Zhao and Durkin as the equally determined prosecutor and defense attorney, respectively. The entire cast did a fine job, and the audience loved the show.
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Director and actor Joyce Henderson dropped by the CN&R offices recently to talk about her upcoming production for Shakespeare in the Park, the Bard’s classic tragedy Othello, the Moor of Venice. Henderson is once more in the Chico area solely for this summer’s production (she currently resides in Alameda).
When asked why she chose Othello for this year’s show, Henderson answers thoughtfully, “It’s interesting. I have been, for several years, concerned about the issue of race. Why are we still dealing with it? And as I get more into Othello, I find out that it really isn’t about that at all! It’s an interesting subplot, but it’s really not about [race]. But that’s what led me to [the play].”
When asked what she feels the main themes are in Othello, Henderson quickly replies, “Jealousy and betrayal. The jealousy is a symptom of the illness of Iago. He is so alienated and isolated from humanity, he’s going to spiral down into some weird abyss.”
Does she think he’s a kind of dark reflection of society?
Henderson answers with a funny, drawn out “Mmm-hm!”
“Whenever Shakespeare talks about Venice,” Henderson continues, “it’s a very decadent society. In Merchant of Venice, you know, [Shylock] ‘pound of fleshes’ the guy, then they take away his [Shylock’s] religion and it’s party time in Venice! I mean, it’s so cold.”
When asked about whom she cast in the main roles for Othello, Henderson proudly states, “Othello is stunningly portrayed by Nicholas King. He walked into auditions, proceeded to read, and there was no question. He’s a singer. He has a beautiful voice.”
Karen Anne Light plays Othello’s young wife Desdemona, and Shakespeare in the Park veteran Bruce Dillman portrays the villainous Iago.
Othello will be already up and running by the time you read this, out at Cypress Grove in Bidwell Park, off East Eighth St. For tickets, times and more information, call (530) 891-1ETC.