Providence Hall’s performing artists are serving up a Russian-themed evening the first weekend of March. In a dinner-theater format, performances of comic vignettes from The Good Doctor by Neil Simon, Broadway’s master of comedy, will be interspersed with courses of authentic, gourmet Russian fare.
In The Good Doctor, Simon elegantly weaves eight Anton Chekhov stories into a laugh-out-loud experience complete with tricky con artists, ridiculous slapstick and heartwarming musical numbers.
In the late 1800s, Chekhov wrote humorous newspaper articles to pay his way through medical school. Simon dramatizes these stories into hilarious theater, incorporating a wide variety of characters — a governess, a blustering general, a dentist, a wild woman with a nervous disorder, a man who earns money by pretending to drown, and an actress. The stories, adapted for the stage, are filled with dry humor, surprise endings and clever common people in confrontations with “superiors,” culminating in absurdities.
The character of “The Writer,” obviously Chekhov, acts as narrator and serves to connect the scenes. Miller James, a seasoned actor as well as the play’s director, performs the part of the narrator.
Fourteen Providence Hall students, spanning grades 7 through 12, play a variety of roles. Cast members include Mariano Avila, Molly Becker, Justin Blum, John Butler, Claire Colombo, Emi Cooper, Tenley Force, Ryan Halsey, Katie Hodson, Nathaniel Hodson, Madeleine Meyer, Jacob Park, Jacob Pelto, Cooper Sheard and Junia Work.
“Chekhov is an important playwright, and we want our students to be familiar with his person and work,” said Rebecca Hodson, Providence Hall’s director of performing arts. “The Good Doctor is well-written by Neil Simon, and with the large variety of roles it gives students optimal individualized training in drama.”
Showtimes are 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2 at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, 21 E. Constance Ave.
Tickets for dinner and the show are $20 for adults and $12 for students under age 18. Seating is limited. Click here to purchase tickets. For more information, call Providence Hall at 805.962.4400.
Providence Hall provides college preparatory education for grades 7 to 12, integrating the Christian faith with academics in a way that encourages a passion for pursuing truth, beauty and excellence. Dynamic visual and performing arts experiences and opportunities complement the humanities-based curriculum that draws from the great books and ideas that built Western civilization, along with rich science and math classes. Providence Hall students are challenged intellectually and equipped to become discerning, compassionate and courageous leaders.
— Elaine Rottman is the director of advancement at Providence Hall.