Love over the wall

Dalliance Theatre’s new production The Fantasticks is a Romeo and Juliet tale, but with a fake feud

From left to right: Aimee Bouchard, Adrienne Miller and Sean McCabe.
From left to right: Aimee Bouchard, Adrienne Miller and Sean McCabe.

It’s a familiar tale of two lovers. But instead of a typical happy ending, the love dwindles.

The Fantasticks is a 1960s musical, where two fathers fake a feud to make their children feel they’re fated to be together.

Matt and Luisa, played by Sean McCabe and Aimee Bouchard, live next to each other, but are separated by a wall their fathers built. Despite the barrier — or maybe because of it — they fall in love.

But when the wall that keeps them apart is removed, and they can finally be, the spark between them fizzles.

Daniela Cerrone, ArtSci ’15, who plays the elderly Shakespearean actor Henry Albertson, said she loves how the story starts off as if Matt and Luisa got their happy ending, but then all is complicated by reality. Cerrone said the play tells a life lesson.

“It’s important to be realistic while still appreciating the beauty of [life].”

As for the music of The Fantasticks, originally composed by Harvey Schmidt, the actress was pleasantly surprised.

Pianist Nathaniel Zoulalian, ArtSci ’14, and harpist Scott Hughes deliver phenomenal performances. In particular, the musical score added to the choreography of the fight scenes and the overall dynamics of the show.

The cast — if I may use the pun — is truly fantastic. Dalliance Theatre Company has once again attracted strong talent, both new and experienced.

First-year Sia Badie, who plays Henry Albertson’s sidekick Mortimer, will have your sides splitting from his hilarious antics. Lead actress Bouchard, ArtSci ’13, delivers an impassioned performance as Luisa.

Bouchard couldn’t sing or speak due to a recent case of laryngitis. But even while lip-synching the lines she doesn’t allow this impediment to impair her performance.

“She has such a beautiful voice,” said director Alexsandra Marzocca, ArtSci ’12, who recited Bouchard’s speaking lines during the performance.

The use of meta-theatre is a unique element in The Fantasticks. Marzocca explains that meta-theatre is when elements of the staging are made obvious, such as changing pieces of the set design during a scene.

These changes are made by actress Adrienne Miller, ArtSci ’15, whose character is a mute ballerina. She’s a chameleon, taking on different roles throughout — including the wall and a bricklayer. Her character is present in many of the scenes, interpreting the emotions of the scenes through ballet.

Another interesting character and arguably the most complex is the mysterious vagabond, El Gallo played by Jackson Tse, Sci ’12.

Tse describes El Gallo as a trickster type who complicates the story, but at the same time knows what is best for the lovers more than they do themselves.

Once you are introduced to Dalliance Theatre it becomes more than a flirtatious affair. I fell for the company at their debut production Black Comedy. The Fantasticks is only their second, and you won’t be disappointed.

The Fantasticks plays from March 14 to 17 at the Baby Grand Theatre at 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday.

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