Muskegon, Michigan, Sept 8, 2015 – The Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company is coming to The Block Friday and Saturday Oct. 9-10 at 7:30 p.m. to perform “The School for Scandal,” a comedy of manners by Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
The play is a precursor to the West Michigan Symphony orchestra’s performance of the Overture to “The School for Scandal” by composer Samuel Barber at their Nov. 6 masterworks concert.
“The School for Scandal” focuses on the plotting of Lady Sneerwell, a lady of the fashionable society of London in the 1770s. Sheridan’s script, which is a satire of the gossip and hypocrisy of the upper class, is considered a comedy of manners. These types of comedies typically avoided the romantic sentimentality that was popular in other stage dramas of the time and is told through clever dialogue and comic situations. The play was first performed in London, May 8, 1777, in Drury Lane Theatre.
Over 150 years later, American composer Samuel Barber, who ironically preferred to compose in the Romantic style, created the Overture to “The School for Scandal” which will be played by the West Michigan Symphony orchestra at its Nov. 6 concert. It was Barber’s first composition for full orchestra and was intended to reflect the spirit of the play. In 1933 the Overture won the Joseph H. Bearns Prize of Columbia University and helped to establish Barber’s national reputation.
Executive Director and company member Katherine Mayberry was asked what audiences can expect from the October production at The Block and replied, “The comedy in ‘The School for Scandal’ depends on the audience knowing more than the characters; the audience is always in on the joke that is being played on someone. Through the devices of disguise and eavesdropping, audiences will enjoy a fast-paced farce in which they will delight in plots, tricks and villains finally getting their just rewards.”
“The School for Scandal” will be the second time The Block has presented a theatrical production and the first with The Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company. Pigeon Creek presents in a performance style that is based on the staging practices of Shakespeare’s own lifetime, providing a fun and interactive theatre experience with live musical interludes, cross-gendered casting, and characters speaking directly to the audience.
Doors and bar open at 6:30 p.m. and the performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings, Oct. 9-10. Tickets for “The School for Scandal” are $15 and are available by calling the West Michigan Symphony ticket office: 231.726.3231 ext. 223; online at theblockwestmichigan.org; or in person at 360 W. Western Ave. in Muskegon.