Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy, The Rivals, runs in Santa Maria's Marian Theatre June 21 - 30 then under the stars in the Solvang Festival Theater July 5 - 22. His masterpiece of satire surrounds us with a symphony of exuberant laughter and romance, played out with wit and wisdom. If you laughed at The Importance of Being Earnest and loved Pride and Prejudice, get ready to laugh and fall in love again!
Three suitors are vying for a beautiful heiress. There are masked identities amid raging jealousy which leads to a dangerous duel, all adding fuel to Sheridan's incendiary comedy. Director Patricia M. Troxel said, "This witty comedy is a celebration of romance, panache, and the City of Bath." 18th century Bath was a town popular with the wealthy and fashionable. The attraction, besides a temperate climate, was the town's hot springs, which fed thermal baths (first exploited by the Romans) and were thought to have curative properties. Those with means attended balls, concerts, horse races, and played cards at their leisure. During this period, high society's emphasis was on "conspicuous consumption."
Erik Stein* plays Sir Anthony Absolute a gruff and wealthy baronet, with a twinkle in his eye. Quinn Mattfeld* is Captain Jack Absolute, Sir Anthony's son and disguised as Ensign Beverly to better woo Lydia Languish (Stephanie Philo) who wishes for a "real" romance, the kind she reads about in novels. Kitty Balay* plays Mrs. Malaprop whose turn of a phrase is often the reverse of its intended target. She uses words that sound like the words she means to use, but with very different definitions. Also cast is Peter S. Hadres* as Sir Lucius O'Trigger, the Irishman who is one of Lydia's suitors and who stands on ceremony, to the point of putting his own life in jeopardy. Tony Carter is Faulkland; he is in love with Julia, but has uncontrollable jealous suspicions of her fidelity, even when all the facts suggest otherwise. Evans Eden Jarnefeldt is Bob Acres, yet another of Lydia's suitors who happily stirs the pot to rile Faulkland's jealous heart.
The Rivals is Directed by Patricia M. Troxel with Scenic Design by Heidi Hoffer, Costume Design by Frederic P. Deeben, Lighting Design by Tamar Geist, Sound Design by Noelle Hoffman, and Stage Manager by Heather Newman.
This production is generously sponsored by Dr. Dennis and Franziska Shepard.