Essay Review: ‘The Marriage of Figaro’
The marriage of Figaro is one of the three plays written by Pierre Beaumarchais during the time period 1775 – 1792. A semi-autobiographical story in nature, it has been adapted by Charles Morey and directed by Hall Brooks in a more contemporary version and was performed at the Pearl Theatre recently (Conant, 2012). It is one of the best compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The play offers its viewers an excellent combination of drama, romance, and humor and is certainly an interesting watch. It has the right amount of history, modern sensibility and witty and interesting dialogue flavoring composed of mannerisms and idioms (The Marriage of Figaro).
The Marriage of Figaro recounts the adventures of Count Almaviva and Countess Rosine who are to be married at the beginning of the play. When the play starts, the viewers find out the Count has set his eyes upon Susanna, the bride-to-be of Figaro and is considering the act of cheating on his fiancé. In order to avoid the possibility of getting trapped in a scandal, Susanna devises a plan with the help of the Countess and Figaro that would help bring the Count in an embarrassing situation and remind him of how devoted his love for the Countess really was.
The direction of the play might be conventional but it is certainly enjoyable. The main focuses of Brooks are the comedic aspects of the dialogues and portrayal of the characters as sarcastic, bawdy and with a generous amount of slapstick. The set has been designed by Jo Winiarski and is simple yet elegant with brilliant use of lights and coloring (Conant, 2012). Costumes have been brilliantly designed by Barbara A. Bell in a way that helps in adding the strong and evident styling of the depicted time period, especially in the case of the attires of the Count and the Countess.
The secret behind Figaro’s massive success and popularity is the impressive acting of all the actors involved. At every moment during the play, most of them are seen to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. The honor of being the best actor, both vocally and appearance-wise, goes to Jolly Abraham who plays the role of Figaro’s fiancé and the object of lust for the Count. She genuinely steals the show with her devious scheming and manipulative thinking along with her loyalty to her future husband. Harvey definitely plays her role brilliantly and adds a natural touch of humor in her character. Sean McNall’s acting was also very appreciable as he played the role of Figaro and supplied the audience with a strong and effective vocal presence and comical timings (Rooney, 2012).
Chris Mixon and Joey Parson played the role of the Count and the Countess very effectively (Rooney). Although they shine and excel on their own their best work is when they perform together, especially in the final act when serenading each other. Moreover, the play has some surprising plot changing events in-store as well. the best example of this is the characters of Don Bartolo and Marcellina who at first seem to be simply failed instruments being used as a part of the Count’s scheme and planning to punish Figaro but in fact, turn out to the long lost parents of Figaro (Rooney). The characters of both of them have been playing well and have helped bring a great deal of humor and drama to the play.
This production of The Marriage of Figaro has surely succeeded in conveying the revolutionary yet contemporary spirit of the play. However, there were times like humming of the ‘Marseillaise’ by Figaro while he shaves the Count’s beard that make the underscoring look like a bit heavy-handed (The Marriage of Figaro). But for the majority of the play, Brooks has managed to cleverly portray anachronism with an amusing and fresh tone. The whole play has been performed with a playful yet excellent command of both the physical and the verbal comedy and thus, has been able to overthrow the shadows of the opera the story had long been under.
The play Figaro is one of those worlds- changing plays that are able to deliver a biting and bitter message with the touch of humor and grace (Rooney). It is one of those stories that make you think and laugh at the same time without any pause. Everybody and everything related to it, whether it is the casting, adaptation or direction, is simply perfect and flawless and a treat not worth missing at any cost.
Rooney, David. “Tracing the 99% Fight to the 18th Century.” The New York Times. N.p., 06 2012. Web. 27 Nov 2012. http://theater.nytimes.com/2012/11/07/theater/reviews/sean-mcnall-in-charles-moreys-figaro-at-pearl-theater.html
Conant, Oliver. “Off-Broadway Theater Review: FIGARO (Pearl Theatre).” Stage and Cinema. N.p., 20 2012. Web. 27 Nov 2012. http://www.stageandcinema.com/2012/11/20/figaro-pearl/
Brooks, Hall, dir. The Marriage of Figaro. 2012. Film. 27 Nov 2012.