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The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

Theater Paradiso: Winter Play Review

Photo: Ken Bowen Photo: Ken Bowen[/caption]

Brianna Yang

Staff Writer

On February 6, 2014, I heard a slew of sexual innuendos come out of Harry Scholes’s mouth. It was awkward, but strangely awesome. This was Hotel Paradiso, the French farce written by Georges Feydeau.

Hotel Paradiso tells the story of one Monsieur Pinglet, played with fiery passion by Harry Scholes, who just wants to get laid. Unfortunately, his overbearing and nagging wife, the effervescent Casey Boykins, just won’t do for him. Pinglet wants join the big boys of the upper-class French society: he wants to have an affair with his best friend’s wife, Erika Marks’ Marcelle Paillardin. He conspires with Madame Paillardin, who’s having her own marital troubles with Erich Finch’s Henri Paillardin, to meet up at the seedy Hotel Paradiso while his wife’s away on a trip. Of course, things don’t go as planned, and Pinglet just can’t get lucky. For seniors not involved in the Advanced Acting show, this may be their last performance on the Latin stage—giving memorable and pitch perfect performances, the seniors did beautifully. Casey Boykins nailed her performance as Angelique Pinglet with sass and wit and attitude. Erich Finch was perfectly boisterous as Henri Paillardin, and gave an excellent performance in the second act as he encountered the “ghostly” sisters. Jake Schlossberg was delightful as Maxime, the naïve and nerdy nephew of Henri Paillardin, who experiences his coming-of-age with Affy Koungoulos’s hilarious and very mature Victoire. Although only appearing in one act, Quintin Hall and Grace Ebach stole the show as Chervet and Madame Chervet, two discourteous hotel guests who threaten (and carry out) their revenge on the Hotel Paradiso. And no one can forget Cat Sharp as the entertainingly dramatic hotel manager Bastien with all her malapropisms and scheming and who proclaimed that the Hotel Paradiso was a place where “love blossomed” but “no questions asked” (wink wink).

It’s not only the seniors who should be proud, but the juniors were fantastic as well. Harry Scholes and Erika Marks as Monsieur Pinglet and Madame Paillardin played off each other well; Marks coolly and sarcastically acting as the straight man to the fervent and repressed Scholes. Chris Quazzo’s charming and socially awkward Mathieu was my favorite character. Early in the first act, I was feeling overwhelmed by sheer number of sexual jokes that had already been said, but Chris Quazzo’s Mathieu was able to bring a breath of fresh air with more PG humor delivered with spot on comedic timing. Charlie Fox was confident and nonchalant in his role as the hotel bellboy, Boulot, who was the more normal one in the bunch of strange characters of the Paradise Hotel.

Although I enjoyed the play in general, I was most impressed by two things: the set and the transitions between acts. Designed by Ken Bowen with help from Sidney Eberly and Hunter Dunn, the set featured two rooms of the Paradise Hotel and the bedroom of Monsieur Pinglet. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never built anything before, but I watched the doors swing open and shut with wide-eyed disbelief. During the transitions, Pinglet’s bedroom would have to be moved to the side to make way for the rooms of the Paradise Hotel or vice versa. While the cast and crew made the switch, Mathieu and his daughters would run around the theater in a choreographed pseudo-dance routine that perfectly fit the frenzied quality of this particular play. The making of Hotel Paradiso was a richly rewarding process for its cast members. Lila Patinkin, who played one of Mathieu’s daughters, commented that “[Hotel Paradiso] was really fun to be in and a great experience” and was surprised that “[the cast] definitely all came out of the show with more friends than we went in.” For the seniors, the performance nights were bittersweet. Senior Cat Sharp thought that the play was “a lot of fun,” but she admits to crying before her last performance on Friday night. She remarked, “It’s just sad knowing it was the last time performing on the Latin stage.”  ]]>

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