The Clark State Community College Theatre Arts program will present “She Stoops to Conquer” this November at the Performing Arts Center.
Special guest Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State, will host a pre-show lecture on opening night of the production at 6 p.m., November 1.
"Oliver Goldsmith’s eighteenth-century play, “She Stoops to Conquer,” deals with themes that audiences will find relatable: tensions between socioeconomic classes, deceptive appearances, and satire couched as side-splitting comedy,” said Blondin, whose passion is teaching. “In other words, his play is thoroughly modern and relevant in 2019."
Theresa Lauricella, associate professor and program coordinator of theatre at Clark State, said she and guest director Eric Brinkman discussed many possible titles and finally settled on “She Stoops to Conquer” because they wanted to explore a restoration comedy as the Theatre Arts program had yet to tackle this style.
“She Stoops to Conquer” follows a young woman who has to trick a shy young man into thinking she is a maid and her father's house an inn so that he will woo her. On his way to meet her, his intended bride for the first time, he is misled by his soon to be brother-in-law. What results is both comedic and illuminative of the relationships between men and women.
Brinkman adapted the play from playwright Oliver Goldsmith's 1773 original. Brinkman, who is finishing his Ph.D. at The Ohio State University, is maintaining the historical element, but updated some of the humor.
Lauricella said the cast of “She Stoops to Conquer” is made up of all Clark State students and two alumni.
Actress Emily Parsons graduated from Clark State in 2015 with an Associate of Arts degree. She has returned to the theatre for “She Stoops to Conquer” cast as the role of Mr. Hardcastle, the father.
The words “conquer” and “she” led to Parson’s decision to audition for the production. “A woman overcoming something is always interesting,” she said. “I wanted to learn more about the show.”
As a student at Clark State, Parsons said she really enjoyed the acting classes. She has performed in other local theater productions as well.
“Clark State does a very good job of not only promoting the students in the acting program, but also inviting the community to be a part of it,” said Parsons. “I really like that bond of student and non-student. We get to work with a lot of people from different backgrounds.”
Parsons said when she participated in the Clark State production of “King Lear” she was the one asking for advice from others, but now as a graduate with acting experience and some confidence, she is helping others.
“I feel like I need to motivate them sometimes because they are coming out of their shells,” she said. “I feel like I have something to offer them now that I have done other shows; Clark State definitely started me off there.”
Parsons said Brinkman is different from other directors she has worked with. “He’s brought a lot of fresh ideas to this show and to us as actors,” said Parson. “I think he’s really bringing something out in all of us that is making us very motivated to do the show.”
Blondin’s opening night lecture begins at 6 p.m. with a reception to follow before the 8 p.m. curtain on Friday, November 1.
Show times for “She Stoops to Conquer” are set for November 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m.; and November 3 and 10 at 2 p.m. in the Clark State Performing Arts Center Turner Studio Theatre, 300 South Fountain Avenue, Springfield.
Tickets are $15 and are available online at ticketmaster.com. Clark State students get in free with a valid student ID.