By Jackie Burton
Nov. 2, 2022: The cast and crew trickle into the auditorium for a rehearsal of the upcoming production of “The Play That Goes Wrong”, dropping backpacks on the seats and running up to the stage. Playfully, they check props, the set and look through scripts while joking and laughing with each other. Their energy and excitement is contagious.
“The Play That Goes Wrong” opens on Thursday November 3 at 5pm. Additional performances will take place on Friday November 4 and Saturday November 5 at 7pm. Tickets are available to purchase online now. Starting next week, tickets can be purchased during lunch period in the Meadow Atrium and (pending availability) the night of performance at the Bronxville School Auditorium.
This group of Bronxville High School Performing Arts students are clearly a team and like to work together. When asked which words best describe this farcical whodunnit, overlapping and one upping each other while laughing, they call out: Idiotic, goofy, BIG!, buffoonish, irrational, physical, absurd, and silly. The message is clear, they think this play is a lot of fun.
Director and Bronxville High School Curriculum Lead, Robert Cross says that the cast and crew have been a joy to work with. “I get to work with some of the best talent Bronxville has to offer, “ said Mr. Cross. “Even the actors with smaller roles (Cornley stage crew, the understudies, and super talented actors helping with the crew) have surprised me with their commitment and dedication. Weeks ago, I stopped calling specific people to rehearsal because everyone was showing up whether they were called or not! They enjoy being together and working as a team to build something special.”
The play is full of unique features, including the flexibility in casting with either gender in many of the main characters. This offered a significant benefit to both Mr. Cross and those who auditioned. “Given the relatively small size of the cast it was important to have some flexibility with gender to give our incredibly talented female performers more opportunities,” said Mr. Cross.
It is a “play within a play”, so the actors have an added layer to their characters- they are actors playing characters, who are actors playing characters. While it might sound confusing and challenging, these Bronxville thespians not only rise to the occasion, they also find a freedom in playing it to the maximum. “What's fun about these characters, and the actors playing them, is that they did so much research into the characters that they're playing and the actors that they're playing. It's easy given the personalities of these actors, and personally knowing how often they seep into the characters that they're playing,” said Assistant Director and Bronxville student Lila Rucci.
This will be the first play performed inside the auditorium theater since the pandemic. Perhaps a funny coincidence, as this happens to be the Bronxville School’s 100th year, “The Play That Goes Wrong” has earned the rare honor of being the longest running play in the 100 years of London’s West End Old Red Lion Theater. It won an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and two TONY Awards when it ran on Broadway. But those accolades tell only part of the story of why Mr. Cross chose this piece.
“The Play That Goes Wrong” was written by a group of LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) graduates in 2012, where I also attended. I did not overlap with the playwrights, but we did share a teacher, Mark Bell, who became the show's original director. When I saw the show for the first time I could recognize Mark's character-focused clown work and precise brand of physical comedy. And the writing is brilliant, of course. He taught me well at LAMDA and he is continuing to teach me through this show. I only hope I can do it justice and have half the impact on my young actors that he had on me,” shared Mr. Cross.
Additionally, Mr. Cross put a lot of thought into choosing the “right” piece to take full advantage of being back in person together with the community in the beautiful auditorium space. “I wanted to do something that was inherently theatrical to make full use of the theater after not being able to for the past couple of years. I also wanted something light and joyful to bring the community back together and something for our performers to really enjoy. This show answers all of that.”
The Bronxville Public Library traces its origins back to 1875, when it was a small lending library housed in a room attached to the “Bronxville Model School.” The Library was officially chartered in 1906 and moved into the Village Hall Building. The needs of the library grew with the town and, in 1942, a new standalone building was erected, which is where the Library is today. Over the years, the Library was renovated and expanded to meet the needs of the community.
The Library has wonderful resources for adults and children and offers a comfortable and relaxing environment. The Library also houses a fine art collection, consisting principally of Bronxville painters and sculptors.
The Library offers special events, art exhibitions, and programs for adults, young adults and children. All events are open to the public, unless otherwise indicated.
The Bronxville Public Library
201 Pondfield Road (Midland Avenue & Pondfield Road)
Concordia Conservatory, a preeminent center for music education in Westchester County, is a welcoming community where children and adults find lifelong inspiration and joy through learning, performing, listening to, and participating with others in music. Concordia Conservatory, a community outreach division of Concordia College, offers top quality music programs for early childhood, youth, adults and seniors. The Conservatory's vision is to enrich the lives of the people in our community through music.
Executive Director: Kathleen Suss
Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art
171 White Plains Rd
99B Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
117 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708