Play uses comic pretense to poke characters' foibles

S4 actors in rehearsal image.“She Stoops to Conquer,” the current SUNY Oswego theatre production, offers comic escape that’s as old as the 18th century play and as new as today’s situation comedies.

The Oliver Goldsmith play in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre turns on a case of mistaken identities. The results expose what director Mark Cole, chair of the theatre department, calls “the pretensions, foibles and foolishness” in a farce that offers “several surprises along the way.”

The lead is Jessica Quindlen as Kate Hardcastle, who is determined to test the qualities of her fiance, Mr. Marlow (Nate Roy), and finds her chance in a ruse to portray her father’s house as an inn and herself as a barmaid.

“The world of the play fulfills the dictum that comedy is ‘a holiday from the superego,’” Cole said “It is significant that the play takes place in the country—far from the city—over 60 miles as mentioned in the script. The country: where dreams and license are given free rein, where the irrational and the libidinous rule.”

Other cast members include the mischievous Tony Lumpkin (Charles S. Smith), chief engineer of the deception; Kate’s father, Mr. Hardcastle (Jeremy Waterman); Kate’s cousin Miss Neville (Ashlee Grant) and her love interest, Mr. Hastings (Nicholas Pike).

The elegant, 18th century world of the comedy will be evoked with costumes by Kitty Mace, sets and lighting designed by Timothy Baumgartner and the music, composed by Peter Knight.

“In researching possibilities for the music to the lyrics of the song that Tony Lumpkin sings, I found that most productions commission a composer to write the score, as no tune from the original production survives,” Cole said. “We are pleased to feature the music of London native Peter Knight, which he composed for the Mappa Mundi production of ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ last year. It has just the spirit and energy that I was looking for.”

The play has 8 p.m. curtains April 23 and 24 and May 1, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee May 2. Tickets for the regular run cost $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and children and $7 for SUNY Oswego students.

Tickets are available at or by calling Tyler box office at 312-2141. Patrons with disabilities who require assistance should call the box office manager.

The production is suggested for ages 12 and above.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Conquering farce—Leading lady Jessica Quindlen (second from right) plays Kate Hardcastle in “She Stoops to Conquer,” Oliver Goldsmith’s 18th century farce, which opens April 23 in Waterman Theatre as the final play of Oswego’s spring season. Grant’s character “stoops” to masquerading as a barmaid to observe the true colors of her fiance, Mr. Marlow (second from left) played by Nate Roy. A parallel plot involves the romance of Kate’s cousin Miss Neville, left, played by Ashlee Grant, and Nicholas Pike’s Mr. Hastings, right.

CONTACT: Mark Cole, or 312-4883

(Posted: Apr 14, 2010)

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