I got to sit down with five enthusiastic young thespians this week to talk about the upcoming Bellevue College production of “The Fantasticks,” premiering this Thursday, August 8.
Willow Rae Abplanalp, playing El Gallo, describes their production as a fresh take on what was a fresh take on a classic story. Appreciative of the already satirical nature of the musical, she is excited for their production to play even further with theatrical norms, like the gender bending of her traditionally male character.
The play, written in 1960, pokes fun at Romeo and Juliet style romance stories. The two families, replacing the Montagues and Capulets, stage a feud to coax their two children into a supposedly forbidden love, leaving the audience with a fairy tale happily ever after feeling by the end of the first act.
“And then in the second” says Sarah Dullanty, “Everything goes south.”
Dullanty will be playing The Mute, the mischievous right-hand man of El Gallo, a role that comes with its own distinct challenges.
“I have a personality. I just don’t use my words to express it,” she says. She’s performed roles like this before and she describes it as “coming up with a character built around nothing.” She is eager to introduce Bellevue College to The Mute next week.
The Bellevue College Theatre Department gives seasoned actors like Dullanty a chance to hone their craft, as well as giving some fresh faces their time in the spotlight. Alex Deman, one of those fresh faces, will be making his debut performance on Thursday as Henry Albertson, a stage performer turned kidnapper. Deman discovered his interest in theater through a Bellevue College drama class and can’t wait to put his new skills to the test.
As if getting up on a stage, not forgetting lines, singing on key, and executing choreography were not challenging enough, this play will take place outside in the Raging River Courtyard between the C and D buildings; with no mics, no walls to reverberate your lines off, and no curtain to drop while stage hands rearrange the set.
“It adds a whole new level of preparedness,” says Willow Rae, “What if a bird flies by and poops on my co-star? I have to be ready for that”
Jokes aside, the concern is valid. Exposure to the elements means the actors need to be ready to improvise and avoid breaking character through surprise rain showers or animal interference. So, don’t miss it!
The play will be running Thursday August 8 through Sunday August 11 beginning at 7p.m. (weather permitting) The cast and director Tammi Doyle are excited to bring you “The Fantasticks.” Tickets are available at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4280052 and food will be available for purchase. Seats Open at 6p.m. and there will be live music before the show. See you there!