Parody abounds in Black Box

Theater enthusiasts flocked to the Don Evans Black Box Theatre on Nov. 6 for the opening night of the double-billed presentation of Seymour Barab’s “A Game of Chance” and “La Pizza con Funghi.”

Thursday night’s performance was the first of four, held from Nov. 6 through Nov. 9.

The theater resonated with the boisterous laughter of a full audience, which enthusiastically responded to the humor of the two comic operas.

The night began with Barab’s “A Game of Chance.” The opera depicts three young women who are discontent with their current conditions. Each is visited by the Representative, the messenger of fate, who grants the women their respective desires. Though the messenger enables the realization of their dreams, the women remain dissatisfied, wishing they had asked for more.

Opening night featured seasoned performers on stage. The roles of the three women were performed by Cassandra Boff, junior music education major, Elizabeth Ehret, sophomore music education major and Mary Starkey, junior music education major.

Nicholas Dogas, sophomore music education, assumed the role of the Representative.

The audience was in awe of the profound musical talent of the four individuals. Though this play didn’t rouse the explosive laughter the next would, the audience seemed to appreciate the subtle irony of the plot, accompanied by the masterful voices of those performing.

“They all have so much talent. It was an incredible performance,” Kelsey Long, freshman art education major, said.

“La Pizza con Funghi” followed. The opera employs a serious tone in the beginning, depicting the anxious relationship of Madame Voluptua and her husband Count Formaggio.

However, the satirical nature of the piece materializes as the outrageous interactions between Voluptua and her secret lover, Scorpio, unfold. Despite the tragic components of the play, including a failed love affair, betrayal, murder and a poisoned mushroom pizza, the opera capitalizes on parodying the quintessential 19th century Italian opera.

“They did a great job mocking the Italian-opera style. It was hysterical,” Margaret Lawrence, freshman English/ philosophy major, said.

Jacqueline Leiva, senior music education major, played the character of Voluptua. The impressive, yet dramatic, performance of the exaggerated soprano kept the audience in hysterics. The role of her clumsy lover, Scorpio, was assumed by College alumnus Kevin Peters.

Daniel Cameron portrayed the disgruntled, homicidal husband, Count Formaggio. They shared the stage with Nora Sirbaugh, professor of music, who assumed the role of Phobia.

Their expert performances, coupled with the innate humor of the opera, left the audience in an uproar during the entire performance.

Even musical director Lynda Saponara, who accompanied on piano, couldn’t help chuckling during the ridiculous ending.

Lyric Theatre provides various performances throughout the year, so be sure to look for upcoming events. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.