For the Love of Three Oranges, Annandale High School, Annandale, Virginia, October 26, 2019
Woodrow Wilson High School
What constitutes a comedy? In its non-traditional take on a classic commedia dell'arte tale, the Annandale Theatre Company wed the raucous slapstick of the medieval art form with clever modern touches - to hilarious effect. Drawing on a scenario written by Carlo Gozzi in the 18th century, the dynamic ensemble of For the Love of 3 Oranges populated the fantastical Kingdom of Cups with traditional stock characters. But this isn't your typical dichotomy of cheery good and stoic evil: villains and heroes alike proved their comedic chops along Prince Tartaglia's quest for three succulent oranges.
Armed with makeshift aluminum shoes, golden pajamas, and a dogged yearning for the smell of citrus, Tarik Darwiesh took on the role of the quixotic Prince with aplomb. Subverting the initial portrait of his character as an ailing patient suffering from an inability to laugh, Darwiesh completely changed his facade when cured of his disease. This metamorphosis unveiled excellent comedic timing accentuated by his dynamic with Nia Collins as Truffaldino the Clown. Collins thoughtfully characterized the prince's unlikely ally (and at times inadvertent saboteur) by building up her physicality throughout her scenes, frequent bits and joking asides turning a more static character into the comedic heartbeat of the show.
They say villains have the most fun, and this was certainly the case for the cast of absurd antagonists helmed by Jack Dalrymple and Jewel Coulter as Leandro and Princess Clarice, respectively. This power-hungry duo made distinctive choices with their sassy, bombastic physicality - Dalrymple's use of his wig for prop comedy work was especially memorable. Their lustful zeal was an antithesis to the sweet relationship between Tartaglia and Ninetta (a charming Makayla Collins as the princess prophesied to be freed from her spherical prison by the prince). Leandro and Clarice were but minions of Fata Morgana (Mariam Sesay), who was bent on bewitching Tartaglia as consequence for being bested in a game of cards by King Silvio (Jessup Gravitt). Sesay's impressive vocal variation and confident control of movement in dance scenes brought maturity to her performance while Gravitt maintained his frail physicality and made his fatherly motivation consistently clear.
From Brighella's hunchbacked gait to Il Capitano's flamboyant sword fighting, the colorful characters of For the Love of 3 Oranges moved with purpose across Lynni Do and Max Boyd's cleverly simple, yet adaptable set. An extended dance scene in the first act exemplified the intersection of innovative student contributions: choreography by Han Le paid homage to both period-appropriate square dancing and modern dance moves popularized by Tik Tok, prop designers Rebeca Zeballos and Alex Chounramany supplied red solo cups used as champagne flutes, and Al Tran and Makhi Jackson set the scene with smartly employed strobe lighting. The confluence of creative elements amidst the choreographed chaos of royal weddings and orange-throwing battles brought cohesiveness and heart to the production. Against this background, the complete commitment of the ensemble to strong character choices shone. Their extensive character work was evident in the panorama of memorable characters which augmented every scene, particularly the perfectly synchronized and wonderfully bizarre Zanni (Sirena Clemons, Hunter Duggan, and Tim Hurd).
Annandale Theatre Company's For the Love of 3 Oranges accomplished the impressive task of interpreting centuries-old characters in an original context. Between each unexpected entrance and flamboyant exit, a world rolling with comically large oranges came to life and looked incredibly a-peel-ing.
W.T. Woodson High School
What do you get when you mix farting demons, tinfoil shoes, wizard dance battles, and a profusive number of oranges in a whirlwind of vibrant and hilarious chaos? These crazy components meld seamlessly together to form Annandale High School's For the Love of 3 Oranges.
Performed in the hundred-year-old outrageous style of Commedia dell'arte, For the Love of 3 Oranges is an adaptation of Carlo Gozzi's 18th century comedy scenarios. The story follows Prince Tartaglia who after being afflicted with a mysterious illness for the last ten years is cursed by the evil Fata Morgana to go on a futile and frivolous quest to find his true love, which happens to be three ginormous oranges.
Accompanied by Truffaldino the Clown he ventures into the unknown despite imminent death to find his unorthodox one true love.
The infectious energy of the cast resonated in the vivacious and lively dance battles and party scenes (choreographed by Han Le) through the performance. Through diverse physicality and spot on comedic timing the show provided an atmosphere where even a food fight consisting exclusively of oranges seems believable and genuine.
Tarik Darwiesh's performance of Prince Tartaglia was filled to the brim with wonderfully outlandish facial expressions and dynamic physicality that showed both a hilarious and genuinely sweet side of the Prince. Accompanied by the witty and incredibly animated Truffaldino the Clown (Nia Collins), both Darwiesh and Collins expertly built off one another's humor and energy to create a lively performance.
From chasing a dove with flimsy butterfly nets to flinging plates around like frisbees, the zany antics of the bumbling Zanni (Sirena Clemons, Hunter Duggan, Tim Hurd) brought an delightfully wacky element to the production as they tried to please the wicked Leandro (Jack Dalrymple) and Princess Clarice (Jewel Coulter). Dalrymple and Coulter's farcical scheming and flamboyant flirting added an extra layer of eccentricity and humor to the production. Along with the powerful and malevolent Fata Morgana (Mariam Sesay) and the lovable, chirpy Princess Ninetta (Makayla Collins) the story combines various distinct and entertaining personalities to form a cohesive and comical journey for love.
The eclectic mix of props (Rebeca Zeballos and Alex Chounramany) ranging from red solo cups to wizard staffs combined the old-fashioned setting of the story with modern, durable props that were able to withstand being flung across the stage in a frenzy. The minimalistic but ever changing and adapting set (Lynni Do and Max Boyd) served as a backdrop for various settings including an enchanted lake and a mysterious castle. The crisp and concise lighting (Al Tran and Makhi Jackson) along with the additional technological elements, highlighted the pinpoint comedic timing and phenomenal physical choices of the cast.
With its lively energy and comical slap stick, be sure not to miss Annandale High School's extremely a-peeling production of For the Love of 3 Oranges.