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The main stage of the Williams Center for the Arts will be transformed into an English country manor house peopled by some of the funniest characters in all of comedy for the College Theater production of Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer March 6-9 at 8 p.m.

Tickets cost $6 and may be purchased by calling the Williams Center box office at 610-330-5009.

The play will be previewed in a brown bag presentation noon-1 p.m. Monday, March 4, at the Williams Center. Lunch may be brought or purchased for $3.

First performed in 1773, She Stoops to Conquer features the immortal Tony Lumpkin and his cohorts wreaking havoc on the hopes of two young women by confusing their suitors, two London dandies who travel to the country to secure their hands in marriage. Subtitled The Mistakes of A Night, Goldsmith’s masterpiece has all the ingredients for laughter: assumed identities, cunning duplicities, and romantic intrigue.

She Stoops to Conquer is directed by Michael O’Neill, director of theater at Lafayette. Both the sumptuous 18th-century costumes, designed by D. Polly Kendrick, Parrott Designs, and a modern take on traditional wing-and-drop scenery, designed by Richard A. Kendrick, promise to give the play an air of authenticity. An additional genuine touch for the production is live music of the period.

The rest of the production crew is comprised of Chris David ’04, stage manger; Timothy Frey, sound design; Neil Hartley, dialect coach; Carla Murgia, movement coach; and Tom DiGiovanni ’96, musical director.

Sandra Veresink ‘02, a veteran actress in College Theater, plays the role of Kate Hardcastle, who pursues the love of the main character, Marlow.

“Kate is an interesting character because there are almost two characters rolled into one,” says Veresink, a double major in English and government and law major from Easton, Pa. “There is her more aristocratic, vivacious self, and then there is the lower class barmaid she acts as in order to win the heart of Marlow. She’s powerful and deceptive, but still needs to be perceived as the obedient daughter.”

The production is giving the cast an education in the art of comedy, she notes.

“Comedic productions are difficult because of the precision they demand,” says Veresink. “Timing and the ability to rely completely on your fellow cast members are critical parts of pulling off a successful show, and I believe this cast has what it takes to make everything fall into place.”

Jonathan Pushman ’02, a modern European history and economics major from Bordentown, N.J., enjoys portraying his character, Hastings.

“What is great about the role of Hastings is that he gets to interact with every other major character in the play,” he says. “He has a great deal of influence over how the events of the play unfold, but has almost no control over the thing that is most important to him — getting the girl he loves. I am trying to find the happy medium between the sappy, hopeless romantic aspect of Hastings and the other side of him that is very perceptive and knows exactly what he wants.”

O’Neill has given Pushman a tremendous amount of knowledge about theater, he says.

“He is the reason why the productions at Lafayette turn out to be so incredible, and I think that this gets overlooked,” says Pushman. “Maybe someday they will name the theater after him — he absolutely deserves it. He brings out in his students a love and appreciation for the theater that many of them probably never knew they had. My experiences with him and my fellow actors have given me something to feel passionate about, and we all need something to be passionate about. That is definitely a feeling that I will take with me and cherish when I leave Lafayette this spring.”

“One of the things I have enjoyed most about doing College Theater is watching something develop from scratch into an absolutely amazing production,” adds Pushman. “All you have to start with is a bunch of dialogue and a little stage direction. As weeks of rehearsal go by, you start to develop personalities and inner lives for the characters. By the time production week rolls around, if everything has gone well, all of the actors have fallen in love with the play and their characters. The logical next step is to attempt to transmit that love to an audience.”

A particularly strong example of how that enthusiasm is transferred to the audience happened with last fall’s production of Translations, says Pushman.

“I still cannot believe how incredible the response was,” he says. “There was this sort of buzz going around campus. We would still be getting compliments on the show a month after it was over. It is a euphoric feeling when a total stranger tells you how much they enjoyed something you helped to create. That is what I will miss most.”


Marlow — Ryon Clarke ’04
Kate Hardcastle — Sandra Veresink ’02
Tony Lumpkin — Ian Bibby ’02
Mrs. Hardcastle — Rosaria Pilato ’02
Mr. Hardcastle — Andrew Bostian ’02
Hastings — Jonathan Pushman ’02
Constance Neville — Liza Zitelli ’02
Sir Charles Marlow — Andrew DiFazio ’02
Mistress Stingo — Suzanne Montgomery ’03
Diggory — David Norton ’04
Roger — W. Alex Walker ’03
Thomas — Andrew Dawson ’02
Pimple — Heather Vaughan ’02
Jeremy — Eric Pressman ’05
Dick Muggins — Luke Landherr ’05
Jack Slang — Oliver Bowen ’05
Tom Twist — Steven Schrum ’05
Bet Bouncer — Lisa Oliveri ’04

Categorized in: Academic News