Laughing all the way from pirates to Penzance - The Echo News
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Laughing all the way from pirates to Penzance

‘Pirates of Penzance’ lights up the stage with laughter

Frederic and Mabel, played by seniors John Broda and Alexis Turner, when they first meet. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

Frederic and Mabel, played by seniors John Broda and Alexis Turner, when they first meet. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

By Elizabeth Hartmann | Echo

Dancing pirates and brightly dressed girls take the stage this weekend in Taylor’s Lyric Theatre’s production of the classic “The Pirates of Penzance.”

Start off the semester with endless laughter tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Recital Hall with this timeless opera carefully tailored for Taylor’s community.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” follows the story of Frederic, a pirate apprentice, as he grates against those in authority. Torn between romance and loyalty, he is forced to act against his will because of his sense of duty.

Taylor’s Lyric Theatre revamps this classic production with flair. Sophomore Brandt Maina, who plays the Pirate King, said they’ve made the story their own. They’ve even added a Taylor themed verse to one of the production’s most iconic songs.

Major-General Stanley, played by senior Ty Kinter shows off his Taylor spirit. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

Major-General Stanley, played by senior Ty Kinter shows off his Taylor spirit. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

From the merciful pirates to the cowardly policemen, the characters’ antics are sure to leave you laughing. But this production isn’t limited to insane quantities of laughter. When your eyes stop streaming with tears and you manage to catch your breath, there are many meaningful moments.

Senior Alexis Turner, who plays Mabel, Frederic’s love interest, said the play is perfectly balanced with humor and authenticity.

“It is not all just making fun and mocking the entire time; there is a lot of authenticity to it and that is what makes it,” Turner said.

Amidst the laughter and wit of the show, be careful to watch for a deeper meaning. Sophomore Laura Jeggle, who plays one of the Major-General’s daughters, points out the production’s theme of not judging people on their appearance and that things aren’t always what they seem.

The director of the play, Associate Professor of Music, Lyric Theatre and Voice Conor Angell, said that although “The Pirates of Penzance” hints at issues of gender, class, privilege and the question of legitimate authority, they aren’t approached seriously.

This humorous way of bringing up serious issues makes them accessible, Angell explains that he likes that lighthearted approach.

But the heart of the play is to laugh at some of the absurdities of the past.

“It is such a satire, farcical piece, and it is making fun at old English beliefs and morals like that sense of duty that would push you to do things that you think are ridiculous,” Maina said.

The Pirate King, played by sophomore Brandt Maina, leading his crew of pirates. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

The Pirate King, played by sophomore Brandt Maina, leading his crew of pirates. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

Overlaying the laughter is the hum of violin strings and dancing melodies of the flutes. The beautiful strains of music and the incredible talent of the cast support one another to produce a wonderful opera.

However, “The Pirates of Penzance” is not your typical opera.

“I think a lot of people have the stigma that classical music is kind of serious and operas are just people standing on the stage singing loudly and obnoxiously,” senior Lauren Vock, who plays Isabel, said.

Instead, this opera, she said, is filled with laughter and movement.

Whether you attend to hear the magnificent music or for an evening of laughter, “The Pirates of Penzance” is sure to delight.

“It is hilarious and funny and also kind of relatable, but also not because it is so silly,” Maina said. “If anyone wants to come and just laugh hysterically at a bunch of pirates and old people, then come over and have fun.”

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