Featuring a cast and crew of about 65, Paul VI presents the comedy, “Tom Jones.” Show times are Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, Nov. 9-10, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $5, students and senior citizens; $10, adults, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or at the door.
“This isn’t the movie version; it’s based on the book,” said Director Katherine Miller. “It’s a satire on what people perceive is a person of quality vs. who really is a person of quality. Tom Jones is an orphan – a foundling, but he’s raised in a well-heeled family and they love him. Yet he’s clearly not one of their class. He’s a person of great virtue but, when he wants to marry Sophia, in the upper class, he’s scorned.”
The actors have been rehearsing since September and Miller says they’re doing a great job. “This is a young cast that’s risen to the challenge,” she said. “Even in crowd scenes, with both experienced and new actors, we pride ourselves on working on everyone’s characters, down to the tiniest details. The story takes place in the 1750s, so they’re also working on diction. And they have the most beautiful, colorful costumes.”
The scenes take place in the country, the woods and in London. “It’s very quick, with each scene running into the next,” said Miller. “I think the audience will have a good time. It’s fun watching the pompous, rich people pat themselves on the back for how kind and generous they are and their charitable deeds, while Tom Jones – the truly kind and charitable person – is ostracized.”
PORTRAYING TOM JONES is junior Max Snyder. He says his character’s a nice guy who means well and does things out of the kindness of his heart. “He wants the best outcome for everyone in every situation,” said Snyder. “He’s selfless and has a natural charm, so almost all the girls have some kind of feelings for him. But he’s oblivious to it and doesn’t realize when they try to seduce him.”
Snyder enjoys playing someone who acts that way and calls Jones a “goofy guy.” It’s his first big part so, he said, “I’m almost always onstage, and it’s such a great experience. I love performing; I’m having a wonderful time.” Snyder said the show’s so over-the-top that “the audience will enjoy seeing us having a great time with it.”
Junior Elinor Curry plays Sophia Western. “She’s sweet and innocent, but has a plotting side and will do anything to get what she wants,” said Curry. “She’s very passionate and runs away from home to be with the man she loves.”
Curry enjoys her part because her character has so many different emotions. “She’s all over the place – angry, sad, happy,” said Curry. “And it’s my first major role.” She said the audience will like the show because it’s so funny. “It has a lot of physical humor, plus wit,” said Curry. “We always crack up while we’re rehearsing. I think the audience will want to see it again.”
Playing Sophia’s aunt, Miss Western, is senior Taylor Kiechlin. “She’s unmarried and has come from London to the English countryside to live with her brother and niece. She’s there to help raise Sophia because her mother died. So Miss Western teaches her the ways of London and how to flirt and be a woman.”
Kiechlin says her character has a strong personality and “won’t take anything from anyone. She feels she knows what’s best for her niece and that everyone needs to do what she says. It’s so much fun because I get to be mad at people and boss them around.”
She said attendees will enjoy the satire. “We also break the fourth wall and talk with the audience,” said Kiechlin. “And the costumes are big and bodacious – the dresses have petticoats, lace and bows.”
Junior Will Holley portrays Partridge, who narrates the show’s action in the first half and joins it in the second half as Jones’s servant. “It’s really cool,” said Holley. “Being the narrator, you’re kind of omnipresent and know what’s going to happen, so you can wisecrack and make jokes. Partridge pokes fun at the upper class with his sharp wit. He does it to their face, but they don’t pick up on it. They think they’re fantastic, but none of them really are.”
EVEN THOUGH “Tom Jones” is a period piece, Holley says it’s understandable and works well. “All the actors really gel and do a good job of executing their parts,” he said. “The audience will like the relationships between the characters, plus the romance, comedy and drama thrown together in one, ridiculous situation that’s very entertaining. They’ll want to watch and watch.”