The School for Scandal made theatrical history in 1777 as the first play to use an onstage prop (a dressing screen) as an important plot device. The plot itself involves the misadventures of young Lady Teazle who must not only fend off the jealous accusations of her elderly husband but also the backbiting “frenemies” who are secretly out to ruin her reputation. Two handsome brothers —one virtuous, the other a cad—become inextricably involved in Lady Teazel’s travails.
Although it was first produced in 1777, the play fits right in with Entertainment Tonight, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the Jersey Shore. Directed by Assistant Professor Betty Burdick, Leeward Community College produces this comedy of plots and counter plots in modern dress.
“These people have too much time and money on their hands, and don’t know how to live full, rich lives. They are concerned with how they look and trying to appear better than everybody else by putting everybody else down,” said Burdick.
This won’t just be a rehashing of Sheridan’s play—Burdick has a lot of fresh new ideas. “I want to make Lady Teazle the protagonist because she goes on the longest journey. Most versions focus on the boys (Joseph and Charles), which also works, but is not the emphasis I want. Charles and Maria seem like a subplot to me, with Lady Teazle and Sir Peter demonstrating how difficult marriage can be when you are too rigid and don’t let the other person know what you are expecting—going for society’s version of marriage instead of making your own.”
Sly villains, old uncles with plenty of money, mistaken identities, intrigue, and romance make this wicked comedy a roller coaster of fun.
The School for Scandal runs November 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. and November 10 and 17 at 4 p.m.
Tickets are $25 general; $20 military/seniors 55+ and UH students, faculty and staff; $15 Leeward Community College students and children 12 and under.
Purchase tickets online or call 808-455-0380. Tickets will also be available at the Leeward Theatre box office one hour before show time.