Aye! Begorra! In Lansing Community College’s latest theater production, faculty member Andy Callis deftly directs a talented team of artisans and actors them through a rousing resurrection of the clunky 1860s era Irish melodrama, “The Colleen Bawn,” written by playwright Dion Boucicault.
Set designer Sara Perline both shrinks and restrains the massive, stretched-out Dart Auditorium stage, building a pair of three-story abstract edifices worthy of a Greek tragedy. Each side of the set reflects a separate social and economic class — and the gap between those classes.
The story line of “The Colleen Bawn” is, however, more Shakespeare than Greek tragedy. Duplicity and deceit are everywhere, and things are not entirely what they seem. Can love prevail and overcome class differences? (Of course it can. This is theater, after all.)
The singing and dancing, which kick off the show and are peppered throughout, are substantial, and the acting is crisp with great stage movement.
Sarah Wilke, as the titular Colleen Bawn, plays a woman of modest means marrying up to a higher social class. She is appropriately soft and demure, but also determined.
Her upper class counterpart, Anna Chute (Hanna Feuka), displays a brusque and feisty haughtiness of character. Their contrasting characterizations balance each other well.
Supporting actors, complete with lilting brogues, bring a lot of texture to their roles, and creative costuming by Kate Hudson Koskinen captures the play’s Irish spirit. Ian Whipp, in the role of the manservant Danny Mann, and Dustin Dikes, in the role of pettifogging attorney Mr. Corrigan, turn in noteworthy performances. Boris Nikolovski, in the role of Myles, sings, dances and acts with great animation, owning the stage. Choreographer Lauren Mudry shows an impressive knowledge of Irish dance, with several characters executing complex dance moves.
Callis has a knack for finding obscure, little known plays to bring to the LCC stage, providing educational experiences for both the audience and to the student performers. “The Colleen Bawn” is no exception. We all get to learn new things, as well as take in some good entertainment.
“The Colleen Bawn”
LCC Theatre Program 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13-Saturday, Nov. 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15 $15/$10 seniors and LCC staff/$5 students Dart Auditorium 500 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing (517) 483-1488, lcc.edu/ showinfo