By Kayla Tucker – A&E/Features Editor
Last night’s opening performance of “The Light in the Piazza” at Spectrum Theater nearly filled the entire auditorium. Whether they knew it or not, the audience was reeled into a romantic comedy, Romeo and Juliet type Italian drama of a musical.
The Actors’ Theatre show starts out with a mother, who has an unusually strong southern American accent, and her daughter arriving in Italy for a vacation, and doing their best to speak the language. The characters move between Florence and Rome and the year is 1953.
The daughter, Clara (Chelsea Herrema), was an extreme ditz with a maturity problem and the mother, Margaret (Kathy Gibson), breaks the fourth wall throughout the show, where she notes to the audience what she thinks about what her daughter’s doing, usually in a sarcastic way.
The plot of the story doesn’t leave the audience with a strong take away message, but makes up for the lack of moral with humor and the ditziness of the characters providing a whole new experience.
A more serious part of the play comes when Margaret faces relationship problems with her husband, Roy, who could care less about her. She sings a sad song titled “Dividing Day” where defines her relationship as “we are together, but no more love, no more love allowed.” This scene explains earlier asides made by Margaret to the audience about her daughter’s love life.
The music of the show was impressive. A piano, violin, cello, bass, keyboard and a harp accompanied beautiful singing that brought chills to the audience with each belting note. Although the plot could have more depth to it, the actors did a good job at creating their characters off the script.
The show, which includes a 15-minute intermission, will continue tonight March 21, 26-28. All shows begin at 8 p.m. at the Spectrum Theater at Grand Rapids Community College. Student tickets are $10 and general admission runs between $26-28.