Campus News · Feature

Theatre opens season with a menace 

John Meyer

For Professor and Director Bob Peterson, Scapin, written by Moliere, is a classic theatre production he has always wanted to recreate. 

“Scapin is a schemer back in the 18th century, and it is a reworking of it,” Peterson said. “I wanted to do it because it offers our students not only a piece of classic theater, but their roles are really wonderful and challenging, and yet they are very appropriate for college actors.” 

Scapin is viewed by many as a menace. John Meyer

Premiering Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m., audiences will see themes of mistaken identity and the relationships between parents and children. 

“Scapin is about parents working with children, handling their children and getting along with their children, and children getting along with their parents,” Peterson said.  

The lead character, Scapin, is described by one student actor, Dante Synder, who plays Silvestre, as a “clever, scheming” person. 

Dante Synder (pictured second from the right) plays Scapin’s right hand man. John Meyer

“Scapin is …. this menace to society, and I’m the one who is kind of tagging along, bored being a servant–just looking for something to do,” Synder, who plays Scapin’s right-hand man, said. “I serve Senora Argante who is very rich and very mean. There is a part where she beats me with a bag, so that should tell you all you probably need to know.”  

Other characters audiences will see include, Octave, Argante’s son, who Synder describes as “oblivious,” and Argante’s lover, Hyacinthe. Octave is a chatterbox and has the energy to match the Energizer bunny. Hyacinthe, Octave’s girlfriend is beautiful, according to Synder, which “is a big selling point of her character.” 

Audiences can expect to be impressed by the cast, according to Peterson.  

“I have found them to be very inventive, energetic, bright eyed and bushy tailed and just a wonderful experience because they have come with the attitude of very positive and wanting to be there and their work has been totally wonderful,” Peterson said. 

Peterson hopes that the theatre production of Scapin will entertain audiences, teach them and learn to get along with one another, which is a theme of the play. 

“First of all, I want them to be entertained,” Peterson said. “Aristotle said that theater should entertain. Plato said it should teach; Horris said it should entertain and teach. I hope that the audiences will go away having a good time in the theater and discovering live theater again, but also walking away with a lesson of getting along with each other.” 

The production of Scapin has come along well, according to both Synder and Peterson, thanks also in part to the technical theatre department.  

“Caden [Runnalls, technical theatre director] is wonderful to work with, very dedicated, very intelligent, very inventive,” Peterson said. “The set is two houses set in 1954 Italy like in Naples, Italy. …he has made a fountain that actually works. It was a lot of fun, and he has been very creative, very inventive.” 

Runnalls, a Butler alumni, has acted in several theatre productions and now is working as the technical theatre director. In the spring, he designed the set for “The Cotton Girls.” 

“The set design [for Scapin] was mostly based off of functionality,” Runnalls said. “We have one less week to do this show than we have had for basically any of the productions. It was something we could do as quick as possible while also getting the renaissance theater look. We based a bit of it off a set of Mama Mia, which is a little different part of Europe, but it’s that terracotta sort of texture wall of look that you may find in Italy. We went with a bit of a different route with the actual material and went with dry wall, which a lot of kids don’t work with unless they have a construction background.” 

Snyder looks forward to the excitement that opening night will bring. 

“The feeling on opening night when you are in front of this packed house … who want to be there, who are excited to see the show and excited to see you, it’s just a crazy feeling,” Snyder said. “It feels like a high, like an adrenaline rush. In what I have seen, I have never really felt anything that is comparable to that experience.  

Scapin will run through Saturday with two shows at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Stop by the Box Office in the 700 building on the El Dorado campus between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. or call the office at (316) 322-3262. You can also request tickets online, although they are not guaranteed:  


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