After losing a performance date due to the snowstorm last Thursday, the Chappell Players were finally able to open their show Fantastique Saturday, marking the debut of the original student written play.
This show was written by theatre group member Sebastian Scott and has been in the works since second semester of last year.
“I began writing it towards the end of March I believe,” Scott said. “I’ve had the idea sort of percolating for a while but I just sort of got inspired to keep moving with it.”
Once the idea was there, Scott began talking to Chappell Players’ president William Cusick about performing Fantastique on stage. Although there were two occasions last year when the group put on original one-act plays, they had never performed a full-length original work before.
“Basically, I had talked to Bill after having directed my two one acts last year,” said Scott. “He just felt confident I guess in my abilities, having seen me direct two plays already, and he gave me the green light.”
Auditions for the show were held the Tuesday before Halloween with the first rehearsal actually taking place on Halloween. However, excitement for the show began even before that among some of the actors.
“About seven of us sat down and read the script this summer at the theatre and I instantly fell in love with it,” said Chad Cunningham, who played D’Hero.
Fantastique is a comedy that tells the story of a “good, kind, handsome evil sorcerer” who gets killed often and falls in love with a witch who brings him back to life after one of his many deaths. A new hero, named D’Hero, comes to town looking to perform heroic duties and decides to try to murder the sorcerer, A’Villian Fantastique. Throughout the show, there are plenty of other characters providing laughs as things become “one giant, crazy mix-up.”
In part, it is the group of actors that Scott feels helped to make the show into the success that it was.
“I’m really glad that I had the actors I did,” Scott said. “It’s been a hard road but as far as having people watch something that I wrote, I couldn’t be more pleased because the effort they all put into it, they made it great.”
Once the Chappell Players were able to have their opening performance, it proved to be a successful one.
“Considering it was our first and last performance, I think we, as a cast, kicked butt,” Cunningham said.
“I thought it went very well,” said Scott. “The actors really put on their best performances and aside from some minor technical glitches, which I don’t think anyone in the audience noticed, the show went without a hitch. I was extremely pleased with the outcome.”
The show was also a success in terms of the turnout, with estimates indicating that it brought in more people than some better known plays put on by the Chappell Players.
“I didn’t get the official number, but I heard estimates from 100 to 140 people, which I rate a monstrous success considering Othello [performed earlier this semester] didn’t even get that many on some nights,” Scott said.
“I was very happy that that many people showed up and enjoyed it as much as they did,” said Cunningham.
On the Little Theatre marquee, Fantastique was billed as “It’s funny. We promise.” By listening to the audience at the show, it was easy to tell that the Chappell Players had kept their promise.
“It’s a funny play and they laughed, so we must have done something right,” said Cunningham.
“They laughed and that’s all I wanted,” Scott said. “They applauded after every scene which was incredibly gratifying and several of the audience members whom I had never met before congratulated me after the show. I was very happy that so many people enjoyed the show.”
Unfortunately, due to auditions for upcoming shows and other performing arts events that will be taking place, the Chappell Players will be unable to reschedule a second performance, although Scott is glad to have the opportunity to put it on at all, even if only one time.
“One show is all I got, but at least I got the chance to put it on once,” he said.