Knights of the Square Stage are very excited. They have been working hard on their third play of the year, The Drowsy Chaperone, which opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. and plays this weekend and next.
This play is completely different from the last show they performed — the serious and cerebral Love of the Nightingale, because it is based on a whole lot of fun.
“It’s ridiculous and fun, and everything that a musical should be,” said Julia Gallo, a senior who has been with the Knights of the Square Stage since her freshman year, working as a microphone technician, a props mistress and acting. “I’m glad to go out on this show,” she said.
The Drowsy Chaperone, or “Mix Ups, Mayhem and a Gay Wedding,” as it’s being advertised, is an homage to American musicals of the Jazz Age, although not without a bit of fun-poking.
It is a musical within a comedy, beginning with the character “The Man in the Chair,” looking sad and lonely. He puts on a recording of the fictional 1928 musical comedy, and the stage comes alive with a cast of zany characters which includes not one but four brides.
When Capitola-Soquel Patch dropped in on a final dress rehearsal, the cast looked sharp in their costumes and confident in their roles. The voices some of these kids have will send goosebumps down your spine.
“What we lack in facilities, we make up in talent,” said Maggie Kline, Theater Arts director and English teacher at Soquel High. She is excited for the show, which she says is “deceptively difficult.”
Indeed, these kids have worked hard, and they want you to come check them out. The costumes alone are a sight to see, hand-stitched by the students’ costume design team.
“I’ve gotten to have a lot of fun with the characters’ costumes. There were four brides and a different personality in each dress,” said junior Costume Designer Daphne Brinson. “A lot of the dresses we actually recycled from Goodwill, and basically converted them into 1920s style dresses,” she said.
The flapper dresses are a hoot — an array of glitsy sequins and flashy material.
“The Man in the Chair,” is played by Tommy Knight, a senior at Soquel with a stellar singing voice.
“It’s a fun character to play just because the dialogue is so quick and witty,” said Knight.
He also spends most of the play on a side platform: his living room and living room chair.
“There’s a lot of wiggle room there,” he said, and enjoys improvising each night.
Allison Hill, a junior, plays Janet Vandegraff, the principal bride of the wedding, and she’s enjoying the self-absorbed air she gets to put on.
“She’s very full of herself, vain, and a little naive when it comes to love,” said Hill.
The bride she plays is a Broadway star who “falls in love” with the “perfect husband,” code for rich.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Kline. “And people never come! We want them to come to this one!”
Judging from the preview Patch got, she is right, it’s going to make you laugh.
“It’s a notch above High School level, and it's definitely local community playhouse type of stuff,” said Lin Banks, the main photographer and website designer for the Knights of the Square Stage and mother of one of the talents.
The Drowsy Chaperone plays the next two weekends: Friday, Saturday and Sundays, the 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, and 22 of May. Showtimes for Fridays and Saturdays are 7:30 p.m., with matinees at 3 p.m. on Sundays. General admission tickets are $12. Soquel High Multi-Purpose Room, 401 Old San Jose Road, Soquel. Visit www.knightsofthesquarestage.com for more information.