Classic comedy ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ brings laughs and romance to Tower Theater
Silliness, romance, and hilarious schemes are the key ingredients in the Liberty University Department of Theatre Arts’ upcoming production, “She Stoops to Conquer” opening March 24 at Tower Theater with eight performances through April 2.
The play centers around noble Kate Hardcastle and her betrothed, Young Marlow, after Kate’s father arranges for their marriage. Marlow, who tends to get nervous around women of noble stature, finds himself the center of an outrageous scheme after Kate disguises herself as a servant to trick him into wooing her.
“The fun thing about the play is the silliness,” said Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Neal Brasher, the show’s director. “A lot of comedy is based on misunderstanding and mistaken identity. ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ has those good classic elements in it.”
He describes the classic Oliver Goldsmith script as “a high comedy.”
“It’s a comedy based on sharp wit and an almost intricate language,” Brasher said. “It’s similar to Shakespeare ... very challenging for modern actors and modern students; they’re not used to using language and interacting with people in that way.”
A cast of 12 performers bring the humorous characters to life. Liberty offers a unique twist on the play, setting it in Reconstruction Era (post-Civil War) Virginia rather than the original 17th Century England.
“Comedy like this engages us because it discusses or addresses things about ourselves that we already know,” Brasher said. “We see a lot of truth about ourselves in it; we just see it in a way we haven’t thought of, and that’s what’s funny about it.”
Senior Bradley Samodel, who plays the part of Young Marlow, found he related to his character’s “bashfulness around women of beauty and reputation.”
Even though Marlow is good at conversation, he finds the social expectations of courtship overwhelming, leading to frustration and making the character susceptible to the plot’s humorous turns. His own experiences helped give the character a fresh life in a modern age where “the art of romance” has changed.
“As actors, we utilize bits and pieces of ourselves that really bring out the best in whatever role we are portraying, what life we are living in that story,” he said. “Using elements of ourselves is helpful not only in relating with the character from an actor’s standpoint through shared human experience, but also in bringing that character to life. To be someone else you must first understand yourself.”
Samodel thinks audiences will enjoy reliving their own experiences through the play.
“I think the audience will enjoy looking back on past relationships and the humorous mishaps they had,” he said. “I think they’ll enjoy watching (Marlow) work through the tricks his friends put him through. Whether its college students, parents or newlyweds, they will all reflect on that ‘one time when…’”
March 24, 25, 31, April 1–7:30 p.m.
March 25, April 1–2 p.m.
March 26, April 2–3 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (434) 582-SEAT (7328). On the night of a performance, call the Tower Box Office at (434) 582-2085.