David Douglas High’s actors steal audiences’ hearts with ‘Thieves’ Carnival’ play

Although this humorous play may be unfamiliar to many, it looks as if David Douglas’ Theater Department’s thoroughly entertaining winter production is sure to win over audiences …

The Town Crier (played by Riley McDuffey) admonishes village folks to be on the lookout for a trio of grifters.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Would a batty, elderly socialite knowingly invite a trio of thieves into her French coastal villa – just to “spice up” her family’s otherwise dull life?

That’s the question Jean Anouilh’s 1938 comical farce, Thieves’ Carnival, poses – as the David Douglas High School Theater Arts actors bring it to life on the Horner Performing Arts Center stage, starting tonight, March 2.

While Lady Hurf exuberantly wishes for excitement, her stodgy friend, Lord Edgard, is clearly befuddled by her longings.

Fortune hunter Duncan Douglas-Donwald – and his overbearing mother, Lady Douglas-Donwald – hope Lord Hurf can help them gain favor with the lady of the house.

“It’s one of the author’s first plays,” commented DDHS Theater Department instructor, and the comedy’s production director, Judy LeCoq. “It’s a great example of a ‘farce’ – and exaggerated comedy – that throws together all sorts of different characters, and colorful costumes, and lots of music throughout the show.”

Thieves’ Carnival is suitable for all ages, added LeCoq. “This play is quick-paced and fast-moving; There’s something going on all the time.”

After bumbling in one scheme after another, three grafters – Peterbono, Hector, and Gustave – now make their appearance as Spanish noblemen.

Sensing something is amiss, Lord Edgard tries to convince Lady Hurf not to take in the odd-acting trio.

About the show’s story
The scene is in the 1920’s, at an ocean-side resort in France, where two very wealthy girls reside with their guardian aunt, Lady Hurf, who is regally played by Gabby Luther.

To the dismay her dear-but-boring friend Lord Edgard (played by Karsten Montgomery), Lady Hurf invites three affectionate-but-bumbling grafters – Peterbono (London Bauman-Loughram), Hector (Pablo Iniguez), and Gustave (Ian Booth) – to be guests to enliven her home and to serve as foils to pushy Scottish fortune hunters: Lady Douglas-Donwald (Amythest Davis) and her son, Duncan Douglas-Donwald (Hunter McAndrew).

While “The Bandleader” (Gabby Kupfer) conducts an invisible orchestra, members of the production’s ensemble frolic to swing music of the period …

… backstage, the crew works to swiftly change out one massive set for another one.

A lovely romance blooms instantly between one of the girls, Juliette (Kylie Youngblood), and Gustave.

Pretense and gaiety breaks down when the group is rebuffed at the door of a high-formal event they mistakenly think is entitled “Carnival of Thieves”, because of their costume selection for the evening’s gala. Meanwhile, criminal hijinks ensue in their absence at the residence.

-8 Lord Edgard has a revelation – but can’t seem to figure out just what is that he’s discovered.

After a quick romantic encounter, Gustave turns cold to the young-and-wealthy Juliette, leaving her puzzled and perplexed.

Questions abound:

  • Will the thieves succeed in robbing their wealthy hosts?
  • Can Hector remember which disguise he was wearing that so impressed the lovely Eva?
  • Might Lord Edgard actually solve the mystery with which he struggles?
  • Who will be prosecuted for the dastardly burglary scheme?
  • Can a wealthy young socialite find romance and happiness with a thief?

 

Come see Thieves’ Carnival – you’ll laugh and you’ll cheer, as you discover the answers to these and other mysteries of life, offered by a cast of 18 student actors.

Stage crew members McKenzie Wilson, Brandon Paddock, and Kasandra Cunningham await their next cue.

Eva discovers the mystery Lord Edgard is trying to solve – clearly pointing to the fact that the three young fellows aren’t who they claim to be.

“With all of the ‘quick changes’ this production calls for,” LeCoq said, “it kept our Costume Shop crew Yulida Prozapas, Larissa Schuemyer and Cindy Tipper busy assisting me in our costume shop busy for weeks.”

Adding to the professionalism of the show is the set design by stagecraft instructor and theater manager Mike Taylor. More than a dozen members of the Advanced Technical Services class constructed the elaborate sets.

While dance numbers are taking place in front of the curtain, behind it a complex choreography of stage crew members skillfully fly, roll, and position sets and furniture in the wink of an eye to accomplish scene changes. Other students operate lighting and sound, completing the professional look of this production.

Eva and Juliette have a heart-to-heart conversation about love and their lives.

This mysterious burglar binds Juliette with ropes, as he goes about robbing the home.

After being denied entrance to the gala, Duncan Douglas-Donwald tells Lord Edgard and Lady Hurf that the mansion was burgled, as Lady Douglas-Donwald sounds the alarm.

Thieves’ Carnival runs through March 10
If you’ve missed she opening of the production on March 2 – the curtain again rises at 7:30 p.m. on Thieves’ Carnival on March 3, and then again on March 8, 9, and 10.

Tickets are still only $7 for adults; $5 for students and seniors. These productions usually sell out, so don’t delay calling the Box Office (open Monday, Wednesday and Friday) from 3 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. at (503) 261-8270.

Will this group of gendarmes be able to crack the crime spree?

Even easier: Reserve tickets online: CLICK HERE. Then, compete the online form and send a check as directed.  If your order is paid, they’ll hold your tickets until show night.

Thieves’ Carnival plays on the main stage at the Horner Performing Arts Center at David Douglas High School, 1400 SE 130th Avenue, between SE Division and Stark Street.

You’ll be cheering, also, at the curtain call of Thieves’ Carnival at David Douglas High School this week.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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