Mar 012013
 

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Pictured from left to right: Elizabeth Graves as Kitty, Robert DiDomenico playing Feldzieg, Cody Schauble as Gangster #2 and Austin Crowley as Gangster #1 during East Carolina's School of Theatre and Dance dress rehearsal of The Drowsy Chaperone held at the McGinnis Theatre on  Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013.   (Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflector)

Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflector

Pictured from left to right: Elizabeth Graves as Kitty, Robert DiDomenico playing Feldzieg, Cody Schauble as Gangster #2 and Austin Crowley as Gangster #1 during East Carolina’s School of Theatre and Dance dress rehearsal of The Drowsy Chaperone held at the McGinnis Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflector)

By NATALIE SAYEWICH

Friday, March 1, 2013

Trying to explain “The Drowsy Chaperone” is not an easy task, and trying to extrapolate an understanding from that explanation is no easier. East Carolina University junior Adam Griffin assures that watching the show is the way to go — though admittedly, he’s a little biased.

Griffin plays the narrator “Man in Chair” in the School of Theatre and Dance’s production of the Tony Award-winning musical that weaves two stories into one performance.

The narrator, lamenting the end of the good ole days of theater, attempts to cheer himself up with a recording of the fictional musical comedy “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

“I’m trying to lighten the mood for myself, pull myself out of a funk, and in doing that I’m placing this record on,” Griffin said of his character. “The actors come to life through my imagination. So you’re watching two shows: my life, and you’re watching the musical itself, which is kind of cool.”

Griffin’s challenge lies in trying to avoid looking at the performance going on around him, while he listens and provides commentary to this record.

“My character does a lot of sitting and listening,” he said. “It’s hard not for me to watch what’s going on onstage because it’s so appealing audible that I want to see the movements with it. I’m visualizing everything that’s going on, but the audience actually gets to see my visualizations. In theory, I am alone in my apartment listening to this record.”

Griffin has been a part of several of ECU’s productions, including “Threepenny Opera,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Seussical” and “Cabaret,” but this one, he said, is his favorite so far.

“Everyone is such a character, and it’s just fun to watch it,” he said. “I feel like I learn something new from it every night.

“Like the character, I’m obsessed with the drowsy chaperone herself. She does this great number called ‘As We Stumble Along’ and it’s basically a rousing anthem about alcoholism, and I just think it’s the funniest thing. It’s hard not to crack up on stage. There’s a spit-take scene and that kind of thing just gets me.

“Comedy is hard, but I think everyone has really mastered it in this.”

There are 14 characters plus a six-person ensemble in the play, which can make giving a synopsis a bit more challenging.

Cast members include Emily Weber (Mrs. Tottendale), Michael Tahaney (Underling), Alan Chandler (Robert Martin), Joseph Veale (George), Robert DiDomenico (Feldzieg), Elizabeth Graves (Kitty), Mary Simmons (Janet Van De Graff), Candice Dickinson (The Drowsy Chaperone), Brooke Quintana (Trix the Aviatrix), Austin Crowley and Cody Schauble (gangsters) and Clinton Long (Superintendant).

“Every character is essential to the plot,” he said. “Trying to explain it gets confusing, but watching it it’s pretty easy to keep straight. My character gets to explain certain things, so if you do get a little bit sidetracked, I bring you back into it.”

Working with two story lines has presented the biggest challenge for the cast, but it hasn’t created any major issues.

“There’s the musical numbers and then there’s my spiels that come in to interject it,” Griffin said, “so figuring out which we should rehearse — because there’s two stories going on — balancing that has been a challenge, but I think we tackled it well.

“I don’t think there’s really been anything troubling. It has just been really fun. It’s a really fun show.”

The production is directed by Robert Caprio, who was unavailable for comment.

Contact Natalie Sayewich at 252-329-9596 or nsayewich@reflector.com.

via The Daily Reflector.

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