MSA Theater Magic
By Dharma Bartram
Every year, The Marin School of the Arts theater department dazzles the community with their fall musical and this year was no exception.
The Boys From Syracuse is a 1930’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors written by George Abbott. The play follows two sets of twins who were unaware of each others’ existences, one set both being named Antipholus who both have servants named Dromio. The story is set in Ephesus where one pair of twins, Antipholus (Julian O’Byrne) and Dromio (Rennie Boyd) of Syracuse venture despite the fact that residents of their city were banned from Syracuse.
Each twin falls into their own romantic predicament as the comedy ensues. Antipholus of Ephesus (Alexander Howard), tired of his wife Adriana (Lucy London), has an affair with a Courtesan (Melina Seligman-Tovar) while Antipholus of Syracuse, mistaken for his twin, contemplates being with Adriana and ultimately ends up falling for her sister, Luciana (Chloe Winnett). Dromio of Syracuse is also mistaken for his counterpart by Dromio (Charles Dierkhising) of Ephesus’s boisterous wife Luce (Nicole Richter).
Written in the 1930’s, The Boys From Syracuse features a score full of big band numbers and beautiful harmonies, reminiscent of ‘30’s swing.
The play also featured whimsical costumes that took a modern twist on ancient Grecian clothing, infusing classic styles with metallic accessories and flowy, silky clothing.
Kim Richter is one of the dedicated parents that helped in the design and creation of the costumes.
“Mr. Franz has very specific ideas in his mind,” said Richter. “He uses lots of magenta’s and jewel tones that translate well on stage. The play is Shakespeare and is set during the Grecian era so he wanted to emphasize that with lots of gold and the Greek key trims on the soldier costumes.”
Senior Chloe Winnett described the challenges of performing a dated piece as a 21st-century youth.
“This show was pretty challenging,” Winnett said. “Besides Gilbert and Sullivan, this was the oldest material we’ve worked with in terms of a musical. It was written in 1938 and a lot of the jokes/bits were pretty outdated, so it was a struggle to modernize everything and still maintain the integrity of the show. The process was different than we’re used to because it’s a pretty young cast, so we spent some time getting new faces caught up on our techniques before we could really dig into the literature. But wow, the underclassmen in our program are incredible! They’re all dedicated and intuitive so they caught on quickly.”
Senior Julian O’Byrne discussed how this performance is unique from past shows.
“Boys from Syracuse definitely stands out. Knowing it was going to be the last one for me made me really hold on to every moment and soak it all in.” said O’Byrne. “I’ve imagined myself as a lead in an MSA musical for a lot of years, so getting to realize that was special. Also, this show generated so many memes, such as yeet Camille, that will stick around for a long time, and that’s an added bonus.”
Preparing for this performance, like any other MSA play, requires an extensive amount of time rehearsing.
Winnett remarked on how the importance of preparation and the type of environment it produces.
“When you’re spending 2 hours in class, 15-plus hours of rehearsal, lunches, performances, and workshops together every week, you get unbelievably close. It’s a really special bond. They are my family, and the thought of leaving them, of leaving the pac stage, really overwhelms me. I feel true, honest-to-god love for the theatre program and everyone in it,” said Winnett.
Senior Nicole Richter touched on the gravity of it being each seniors’ last fall musical.
“I have been in every fall musical since freshman year when we performed Young Frankenstein. There has rarely been a day when I haven’t stepped foot in the PAC,” said Richter. “I’m still in denial about being finished with my musical career at MSA because I love theater with all of my heart. I have grown to love my cast and crew like a family, and it is crazy to me that I will be going to college and not performing with Mr. Franz after this year. I’m hopeful that I will continue performing for the rest of my life.”
This year's fall musical featured compelling acting and polished singing. The Boys from Syracuse set the tone for another successful year of MSA Theater.