By Rhia Perkins
School For Scandal lies somewhere between restoration randiness and the dullness of sentimental comedy, according to actor Ethan Cole. Written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, School For Scandal is a comedy that ridicules 18th century London society, and is one of the most recognized plays of the period.
"He [Sheridan] sort of went against what everyone else was doing, he wrote a play that actually provoked laughter, a lot of plays that were produced around that period were really sentimental and provoked tears," says Cole.
Another actor, Ryan Beck, says that his favourite part of the play is character names–including Sir and Lady Teasle, Joseph Surface, Backbite, Crabtree, and Candor.
"The names of the characters sort of reflect who they are," he says.
The play includes so many subplots, it’s difficult to describe. Some of them focus on the marriage of Sir Peter Teasle with his "young wife out of the country," the Surface brothers, neither of whom is exactly who they seem, and the way that rumour and scandal interjects itself into the lives of this cross-section of London Society.
"[The play] is like a Three’s Company episode," says Beck. "It sets up for confusion and a lot of ‘who did what.’"
Though the play has a lot of back stabbing, there is no violence.
"Well, there’s a screen that gets injured, and some feelings get hurt," jokes Cole.
Both loved the experience.
"I’m acting in the same part as guys like Sir Lawrence Olivier," says Beck. "Which is an honour for me, but the very best thing about this experience is the cast and how much we’ve come together and worked together."
"Truly this is a show that requires an ensemble cast," he says. "Everybody on stage, every moment has to be 100 per cent there and giving 100 per cent and everybody in this play is doing extraordinarily. "
School For Scandal runs Feb. 23-26 and Mar. 1-4 at the University Theatre.