Friday, July 21, 2023

The School for Scandal

Last night, I finally had a chance to see Hudson Classical Theater Company's production of The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

Susane Lee, executive artistic director of the company, adapted the script, which is mostly faithful to Sheridan's original, though it transforms Sir Oliver into Lady Olivia.

That role is played by veteran actor Roxann Kraemer, who portrayed both John of Gaunt and the Duchess of York last year in the company's excellent Richard II. Kraemer does an admirable job playing Oliver/Olivia in multiple disguises, including Mr. Premium and Mr. Stanley.

Much of the play revolves around Charles Surface (Cyrus Carrillo), who is attempting to reform himself from a dissipated life. Sheridan gives Charles and his friends a drinking song, which was executed wonderfully in this production, with Brendan Thomas Kane (who also plays the aptly named Benjamin Backbite) providing a guitar accompaniment.

My favorite role in the piece, however, is Lady Teazle, played in this production by Deborah Bjornsti. Lady Teazle is always a crowd pleaser, as she gets to argue hilariously with her husband Sir Peter, played here by Greg Horton (who I previously saw as Buddy in a great production of Follies). When we got to the iconic scene where Lady Teazle is caught hiding behind a screen, both actors milked their parts, in spite of the fact that the production's outdoor location didn't provide much space for the screen.

HCTC performs by the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Riverside Park. It's a great location, as long as it doesn't rain, a factor that delayed my getting to see the production until the end of its run. Unfortunately, The School for Scandal closes this weekend, so if you haven't seen it yet, go while you still can!