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West Springfield High School The Lady from Maxim’s

By • Nov 28th, 2013 • Category: Cappies, Virginia

“Jesus Christ on a bicycle!” the Shrimp proclaims to the Duchess. It wasn’t just the country ladies and the Duchess laughing along with the Shrimp, such remarks sent the audience of West Springfield High School’s The Lady from Maxim’s into hysterics.

The Lady from Maxim’s (La Dame de chez Maxim) is an 1899 three act farce written by Frenchman, Georges Feydeau. The play has been adapted as films and a musical making this play known as Feydeau’s masterpiece.

This play follows the adventures of Dr. Petypon when he wakes from under a couch after a long night at local club, Maxim’s, and he discovers that he brought lead dancer “The Shrimp” home with him. He has to hide his mistake from his wife, Gabrielle, and his uncle, the General, with only the help from his friend and coworker, Dr. Mongicourt. With cases of mistaken identity, extreme lying and even ghosts, will Dr. Petypon and Dr. Mongicourt pull off these theatrics?

Dr. Petypon, portrayed by Forrest Browne, led the show. Browne’s panicked tone throughout the show made these unrealistic situations seem more realistic and brought sympathy to his character. Energetic female lead, The Shrimp, portrayed by Catherine Ariale, used extremely exaggerated physical comedy and had over the top expressions, bringing much life and energy into every scene she was a part of. Browne and Ariale playing off of each other was endearing to watch, the two’s reactions to each other lying or just them bickering off on the side, made the idea that it was completely awful to be in each other’s company more realistic.

Stealing the show was Petypon’s boiler of a wife; Madame Gabrielle who was portrayed by actor and choreographer Ellen Abood. Abood’s reactions were on point and extremely hilarious and refreshing. Her character was often visited by ghosts and spirits who sent her fleeing off the scene. Because of this it made her seem like a madwoman which Abood happily embraced and exaggerated, causing the audience to fixate on her whenever she was on stage. Abood’s choreography during the high kicking Can-Can girls’ scene and during the ballroom was time period and entertaining. Without the choreography in the ballroom scene, the mood and hysterics of the scene would have been shifted.

Other standouts include Émile portrayed by Nyc Nguyen, Madame Sauvarel portrayed by Mallory Astrow and Lt. Corignon portrayed by William Shipley. Nguyen, Astrow and Shipley were only featured in one act of this three act production, but when they were onstage they completely stole the scene. The three brought life to their scene even when they weren’t the center of attention.

The set was beautifully constructed; it was all very time period and intricate including separate rooms divided by curtains keeping it less cluttered when needed and allowing the actors to easily play off it. The lighting and sound were near flawless and always on point to what was going on with the scene–such as when an actor would use the light switch the stage would brighten. It was the little touches that added so much realism to the scene.

These unrealistic events touched at the idea of realism leaving the audience amazed and in awe of West Springfield’s The Lady from Maxim’s.

by Alyssa Denton of West Potomac High School

Photo Gallery

Catherine Ariale and Forrest Browne Famed Parisian can-can dancer 'The Shrimp' (Catherine Ariale) wakes up in the bed of mild-mannered Dr. Petypon (Forrest Browne) after his wild night on the town and completely upends his life
Catherine Ariale and Forrest Browne
Famed Parisian can-can dancer ‘The Shrimp’ (Catherine Ariale) wakes up in the bed of mild-mannered Dr. Petypon (Forrest Browne) after his wild night on the town and completely upends his life
Mild-mannered Dr. Petypon (Forrest Browne) goes out for a wild night in Paris with his bachelor colleague Dr. Mongicourt (Shane Chase), and wakes up to find famed can-can dancer 'The Shrimp' (Catherine Ariale) in his bed the next day Famed can-can dancer 'The Shrimp' (Catherine Ariale) poses as the wife of mild-mannered Dr. Petypon (Forrest Browne) and commits a deadly social faux pas at a country engagement party
Mild-mannered Dr. Petypon (Forrest Browne) goes out for a wild night in Paris with his bachelor colleague Dr. Mongicourt (Shane Chase), and wakes up to find famed can-can dancer ‘The Shrimp’ (Catherine Ariale) in his bed the next day
Famed can-can dancer ‘The Shrimp’ (Catherine Ariale) poses as the wife of mild-mannered Dr. Petypon (Forrest Browne) and commits a deadly social faux pas at a country engagement party
Famed Parisian can-can dancer 'The Shrimp' (Catherine Ariale) shocks the French provincials (Bonnie McClellan, Maggie Rabe, Emily Becker, Mallory Astrow and Alex Nelson) by flashing her drawers
Famed Parisian can-can dancer ‘The Shrimp’ (Catherine Ariale) shocks the French provincials (Bonnie McClellan, Maggie Rabe, Emily Becker, Mallory Astrow and Alex Nelson) by flashing her drawers

Photos by John Ariale

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