UNION – It’s Paris in the eighteenth century. Valère loves Angélique, but she won’t marry him until he gives up his other mistress: The Gambling Hall. Freyda Thomas’ “The Gamester” is based on “Le Jouer,” a little-known 1696 play written by Jean-Francois Regnard, a little-known French writer.
Thomas has cleverly devised a world-class French comedy, albeit with darker undertones reminiscent of Vegas and American society at the millennium. Well, the turn of any century is always marked by optimism, and what happens to the dice-crossed lovers, the portrait, the lusty widow, the old man and the stuttering fop is to be discovered within the finely woven text, written in crisp, accessible verse, with disguises, tricks and romance adding to the high comedy of this delightful “new” classic work.
Directed by guest artist Dennis Turney, with scenic design by Nadine Charlsen, costume design by Karen Lee Hart, and lighting design by student Zachary Gage, “The Gamester” features a cast of 13 and a production staff of 35.
Producer and Department Chair Holly Logue says, “An education in theatre must always involve the application of rehearsal and production techniques, be they lighting, scenic, or costume design and construction, make-up and wigs, props, publicity and the like. Audiences are generally more familiar with what is involved for the actors and the director, but for those students whose talents lie in the backstage areas, they too commit to weeks of work, implementing the designs created by our faculty. Every set and every costume is an original design, which surprises folks sometimes. It is our responsibility to take what inspires us from the pages of the script and turn it into a physical production; our own production, not a recreation of someone else’s design. These experiences provide the students with the artistry and skills necessary to compete in the profession once they graduate.”
“The Gamester” opens Friday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. in Wilkins Theatre. Additional performances include: Dec. 1, 5, 7, 8 at 8 p.m., Dec. 1, 2, 8 at 2 p.m. and Dec. 6 at 5 p.m. (this performance is followed by a Q & A with the cast and creative team).
To purchase tickets for “The Gamester,” contact the Kean Theatre Box Office – 1-908-737-7469.