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Tuesday, 07 August 2012 11:36

Theatre Review >> I, Caligula - An Unique Experience With An Operatic Style

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Secret Rose Theatre has a production that I would be more apt to describe as an Insane “Opera-stylization” of Caligula. Author Kai Cofer was attempting to make a forceful comedy but with the productions tempo, musical score and pacing for me it was more of a forceful operatic piece. The producers tried truncating the life of Emperor Caligula into a series of events using his immediate personas around him to eventually lead up to his timely demise.

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Dory Schultz, Carissa Gipprich, Kevin Dalbey, Josh Shaw, Elizabeth Harmetz, Merdith Overcash and E. Scott Levin

The actual play is reworked to be an actual play that is supposed to be put on by an Insane asylum and it’s inmates set in the 30’s. Most of the time for the real audience, the lines of reality and imagination of the inmates are blurred and it’s hard to tell the difference between the two.

The music adaption and arrangements by Cody T. Gillette (who is also part of the play) had a steady tone and pacing that literally made me feel I was riding the Disneyland “Haunted Mansion Doom Buggy. ” Slightly monotone in feel but engaging in a strangely hypnotic way – it did make me keep watching.

What I enjoyed most were the attempts despite the script and deep music mood of the cast who really pulled through. Some exceptional notes include Elizabth Harmetz vocal talents. She has a powerful set of pipes on her, intense acting chops and extremely passionate in her delivery as the wife of Caligula. She really did well with what she had to work with.

Another stand-out vocal performance was that of E. Scott Levin playing Marco, an assistant of Caligula. He was extremely expressive and incredibly sharp in his timing and like Elizabeth this guy can sing!

Merideth Overcash plays Halicon – another vocally charmed performer and with E. Scott does some amazing vocal harmonies in the second act. Now for comic timing it was always fun watching Carrissa Lynn Gipprich enter the stage and show her vocal and acting quips with her character of the Nurse. Also, giving a fanciful swish of her flighty character Drucilla, Kelly Derouin has great wit with the audience and charmingly sings a sweet tune with a hysterically fun and fanciful flair!

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Elizabeth Harmetz, Carissa Gipprich, Josh Shaw and E._Scott_Levin

Now to Caligula who was played forcefully by Dory Schultz who seems to have an incredible voice and vocal range. I know that outside of this production and with the proper material for his style he would shine brighter. His strength with this production is in his broad acting style and expression. Dory plays ‘insane’ extremely well and defiantly has a large and broad visual stage presence.

Another 'Caligulian' character done with humor and some singing strides was Josh Saw as Skipio. He delivered periodically some very expressive looks thrown at the audience from time to time.

A broad production filled with a very unique touch, but the real reason to see this play would be for the vocal talents of the cast which make the production entertaining.

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Lorenzo Marchessi

Based in Southern California, not far from Downtown Hollywood - Lorenzo Marchessi. has always enjoyed movies, music and theatre first hand. Currently living in the San Fernando Valley Area called the ‘No Ho Arts District properly’ (Originally from Chicago!) – More than fond of Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure, Dramas, Animation, Independent Films and of course Comedies. I like the short film and the long film (as long as their good!) I saw my first film at the age of six - HELLO DOLLY and I saw LOGAN'S RUN ten times in the theatre! Having actually worked in the production of Film, TV, Radio and live Theatre I can always understand the work that goes into creating ANY Movie, Television Show, Theatre Production, DVD, CD's and even Live Concerts. I love to write and been doing it for decades - literally! I always appreciate any feedback or comments! P.S. My all-time favorite film is ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE along with THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE DESCENDANTS, my favorite TV series of all-time is STAR TREK as well as FRINGE and THE BIG BANG THEORY, my favorite performing artist of all-time is BARRY MANILOW, my favorite actor of all time MR. JACK LEMON and my favorite theatrical productions to date is WICKED and THE PRODUCERS. Contact: Lorenzo M. at !

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