Olivia Richman, General Assignment Reporter:
Frederick Christopher Walker is a 28-year-old Oxford educated man. He’s a pilot who just recently learned to fly a plane in 1909. Planes have only been around for about seven years.
Walker is acting out as Joey Percival in the Crescent Player’s most recent play, “Misalliance.”
“It’s turn of the century in England,” Walker said. “(The play) is a picture of different classes in England, from the very low class, to upper class: old money and ‘nouveaux-riche.’”
“Misalliance,” which showed on the 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of March this semester, follows two families, one which is “old wealth,” an aristocrat named Lord Summerhayes, according to Walker.
Lord Summerhayes and his son, Bentley, visit the Tarleton house, a new wealth family who make their fortune running an underwear business. The daughter, Hypatia, becomes romantically involved.
“You witness the interaction between the two classes,” said Walker. “They are discussing intellectual subjects, such as politics and art books.”
But of course, it isn’t a play without a twist.
“Then a plane crashes into the house,” Walker said. “It throws off the whole plot. That’s where my character comes in.”
Akintunde Sogonro, a theater major at SCSU who has seen the play twice, said he thought the play was excellent.
“’Misalliance’ is a challenging show in which SCSU actors had to push themselves to learn British accents and portray classical high British comedy characters,” said Sogonro. “I think they were successful in their work.”
The director, James Andreassi, said he agreed.
“I’m really pleased with this production,” he said. “I think it’s beautiful to look at. It was a wonderful production of a difficult play. There were many challenges. I just wish more people had a chance to see the work the actors have done.”
Andreassi, the artistic director of the New Haven acting group, Elm Shakespeare, chose to direct “Misalliance” at SCSU because he said he didn’t want people to forget the work of George Bernard Shaw, the playwright of “Misalliance.”
“Shaw was one of the major figures of the twentieth century,” said Andreassi, “politically and as an artist. People should know about him. It was a valuable exercise to do it at SCSU because people like Shaw shouldn’t fade into obscurity. That would be a shame.”
Andreassi saw “Misalliance” for the first time when he was twenty when he was in New York City at the Roundabout Theater.
“At one point the character, Hypatia, has a line: ‘I want to be an active verb.’ I thought that was the coolest thing I ever heard. I want to be one, too.”
“James Andreassi is an amazing director,” said Walker. “It was such a great opportunity to work with him.”
The actors were not the only people involved in putting together the play. Kristen Hearns, the paint crew head for the Crescent Players, helped put together a crew of people to help paint the set.
“In some cases it was very difficult,” she said. “I had to do all of the faux wood paneling. A bunch of foam forms the stone archway and I had to paint it to look like stone. We lost so many days because of the snow and had to work a lot of hours. It’s a very intense set.”
The opening scene has, besides a life-like stone archway in the center of the set, giant exotic faux plants in beautiful vases, along with antique-like furniture strewn throughout.
“‘Misalliance’ doesn’t have as much of a draw as musicals do so not a lot of people came as we would have liked. But you can see the name of the director and be drawn in. Southern Theater is pretty well known in the area and has a great cast.”
Like Andreassi and Hearns, Walker agreed that more people should have been present to view the play everyone had worked so hard to produce.
“The faculty at SCSU need to promote to students the importance of live theater and the basic parallels between what they’re teaching and what is happening right here at the Lyman Center.”