College of Charleston SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

‘The School for Scandal’ – An 18th Century ‘Desperate Housewives’

The Department of Theatre in the College of Charleston School of the Arts will present Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s witty play “The School for Scandal.” The production will run Thursday, Nov. 10 through Tuesday, Nov. 15. Curtain times will be at 7:30 p.m., except the Sunday show at 3 p.m. only, at the Emmett Robinson Theatre in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St.

Tickets may be purchased at the box office or by telephone (843) 953-5604. Admission is $15 for general admission and $10 for College of Charleston students, faculty and staff and senior citizens 60 and older. Season subscriptions are available. The “talkback” discussions with the cast and crew will take place opening night following the performance.

Sheridan’s classic comedy of manners dives headlong into the gossip, slander and treacherous world of scandalmongers, where every wink, nod and blink carries innuendo. An 18th century “Desperate Housewives” with razor-sharp humor, shifting alliances and shocking revelations; this play grapples with what matters most: Can there be wit without malice? – Can virtue be anything but dull? – Can true love outwit fashion? Laugh at the preening, posturing and posing of classic characters from Lady Sneerwell to Sir Teazle to Snake.

Directed by Associate Professor Todd McNerney, this classic “comedy of manners” comes to life with a cast of 18 College of Charleston student actors and provides opportunities for physical comedy and highlights Sheridan’s incredible wit. McNerney explains, “Though written in the later part of the 18th century, “The School for Scandal” explores the still very common human penchant for gossip – both the creating of it and the sharing of it. Sheridan’s characters and their world are very recognizable today, his world had daily papers with gossip and slander concerning which person of society was seen where and with whom – we have People magazine or tabloids for the same kind of information.  Not only did they (and do we) enjoy spreading and sharing rumors and innuendo – some of us like to create it about ourselves – the popularity of shows like Jersey Shore or Big Brother illustrate how far people will go to be talked about and that some of us just cannot learn enough about these ‘celebrities.’”

The College’s production features student actors: Anna Stephenson, Montgomery Mauro, Nicholas Piccola, George Metropolis, Allison Wilde, Young Stowe, Matthias Burrel and Robert Prevatt.The production team is comprised of the College’s young and very talented design faculty, each of whom have extensive professional credentials with scenery by Charlie Calvert, costumes by Janine McCabe, and lighting by Paul Collins.

Born in 1751, Richard Brinsley Sheridan was an Irish playwright whose mother, Frances Sheridan, wrote novels and plays, and his father, Thomas Sheridan, acted in and managed the Smock Alley Theatre. In 1775 Sheridan’s first play “The Rivals” was staged at London’s Covent Garden Theatre followed shortly by his opera, “The Duenna,” which was co-produced with his father-in-law Thomas Linley the elder. “The School for Scandal,” produced in 1777, is considered to be one of the greatest comedies of manners in English. He was also known for the successful play “A Trip to Scarborough.” Sheridan was an owner of the London Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and was a member of Parliament, who politically sided with the American Colonials during their struggle for independence.