EDITOR’S NOTE: She Stoops to Conquer, one of the many great plays that UVU’s theater department put on during their 2010 season, has recently been chosen to be a part of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival on Feb. 9.
If everything goes well, the play could go onto national competitions, but for now, they are a part of a very exclusive group to make it to the regional festival, which is sort of the theater equivalent of making it to March Madness in basketball.
To celebrate this honor, which will take the play and its ensemble to Los Angeles to perform in the regional competition, there will be two encore performances of the play on Wednesday, Feb. 2 and Friday, Feb. 4 in the Noorda Theater. This review, which originally ran in our Dec. 6, 2010 issue, was what we thought of this acknowledged play after its opening night.
Written in 1773, She Stoops to Conquer is about the trouble of courtship when what you want does not always match up with what you see. Throw in a painfully shy young man and his foppish friend, a boorish gentleman with an overbearing mother, a few mistaken identities, an ill-trained group of house servants and a case of “missing” jewels, and the results are a delightful show that has audiences rolling in the aisles.
One of the gems of the play is the friendship between Mr. George Hastings (Trevor Robertson) and Mr. Charles Marlowe Jr. (Jason Sullivan). The two share a special camaraderie where they accept each other’s faults, but never miss a chance to have some fun at the other’s expense. The character of Marlowe is confident and charming except when he is around a lady of good standing. He practically falls to pieces in a painful display of embarrassment and awkwardness.
Sullivan pulls this characterization off beautifully and has the audience howling and grimacing in sheer delight at the misfortune of Marlowe. Robertson’s foppish Hastings is thoroughly entertaining, from his overt mannerisms to the subtle expressions or statements he aims towards the audience. He exudes a character that may be entertaining at a party, but one would rather not have him over for an extended stay.
As with most UVU productions, what makes Stoops exceptional is the ensemble work. The cast is completely united in their dedication to telling this story. Each role is played with sincerity and realism without trying to steal the spotlight. The cast works together as an ensemble, which results in an enthralling show. The minor roles were just as entertaining to watch as the leads, such as Robbie Pierce’s portrayal of Diggory the servant who seems to have a desire to keep a chicken as a pet.
There is an unexpected and delightsome aspect of Stoops that makes it completely unforgettable. Thought the show is set in England in the 18th century, director and professor Christopher Clark has put a modern twist to the show that works seamlessly with the rest of the performance. Scenes will have background music of a violin quartet that, when listened to carefully, sounds like the latest hits of singer Jason Mraz or the infamous Lady Gaga.
This masking of modern music, however, is nothing compared with the other modern addition Clark has implemented. Without giving away any spoilers, the play takes stabs at of such things as Facebook and texting in a very literal sense. It also takes advantage of these technological commodities to allow a special and hilarious interaction with the audience. Those who plan on attending the play are advised to not only bring their cell phones, but to be sure to keep them on.
She Stoops to Conquer is running for two nights only, Feb. 2 and 4 at the Noorda Theater. Tickets are $7 with a UVU ID, $9 with any other student ID and $11 for non-students and can be purchased at the theater box of?ce or online at