How much should outward appearance matter in love?
This is a question that John Brown University students will seek to answer in their performance of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s satirical operetta “Patience,” showing Nov. 8-10 and 15-16.
The University’s music theater workshop invites you to peer into a different time and culture as they present Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera set during the Victorian Age in the midst of the Aesthetic Movement in England.
“It’s all about winning the women,” said director Donna Rollene.
“Patience” was written by Gilbert and Sullivan to mock the Aesthetic Movement, which flourished in Europe in the mid to late 1800s. This movement began in defiance of the designs presented at the Great Exhibition. The new movement emphasized the significance of beauty and art for its own sake.
Cast member Ashley Grant said, “[Aestheticism] has no usefulness; it has no meaning; it’s just all surface appeal. Love, to some of the characters in this play, is really very shallow and based on appearance…. The whole thing is just riotous.”
Senior Amy Perry will be playing the character Patience, a young milk maid experiencing love for the first time in a world obsessed with beauty.
“Patience is a young woman who has never known what it means to love,” Grant said “This whole show is her journey to discovering what love really is, and along that road there are many twists and turns. It’s quite humorous!”
The show portrays a number of characters such as the doting, rapturous maidens– who are wooed by the aesthetic Reginald Bunthorne in favor of the unadorned soldiers, the Dragoon Guards.
Meanwhile, Reginald Bunthorne only has eyes for Patience, a girl who is entirely unimpressed by aestheticism, but who falls in love with yet another aesthetic poet named Grosvenor. The musical continues to develop the satirical complexities of the relationships formed and broken by the characters.
“We all bond so well, and we all have such a great time with this performance,” said sophomore cast member Casey Einfalt. “It’s really a fun time.”
Grant recounted the numerous times that cast members have fallen out of their chairs in laughter during rehearsal.
“We’ve had such fun working on it, and we laugh a lot,” Rollene said. “The relationships that we have offstage are definitely going to show onstage.”
Junior cast member Amanda Neely agreed.
“I’m incredibly excited to be a part of “Patience” because this cast is absolutely amazing. Everyone’s incredibly talented, and each person brings so much to the cast. It literally would not be the same if one person were gone.”
According to Rollene, the costumes and the set of the musical are also impressive; the set includes a 16 foot castle and a stable.
“Patience” opens in the Berry Performing Arts Center next Friday, Nov. 8. For tickets, visit http://www.jbu.edu/tickets/ or call (479) 524-7382.