Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 4:22 pm | Fair 62º


Gerald Carpenter: Westmont and Blondell Provoke ‘33 Swoons’

The college's new production of three Chekov one-acts opens Friday

In 1935, a few short years before his fatal encounter with Joseph Stalin’s goons, the great Russian theatrical director Vsevolod Meyerhold made up a show out of three Anton Chekhov one-acts (The Proposal, The Bear and The Anniversary), counted the number of times the characters swooned or fainted, and called the thing 33 Swoons. Now, the Westmont College Theatre Arts program is offering a new production of 33 Swoons in Porter Theater on the Westmont campus this Friday and Saturday and March 3-5.

The play will star the cream of Westmont’s student actors, featuring sets by Darcy Scanlin, costumes by Miller James, lighting by Robert Hamel, and with original music by Diana Small and Elise Witek.

At the helm is one of the most creative directors now at work in West Coast theater, not to mention the rest of the world: John Blondell, Westmont theater arts professor and artistic director of Lit Moon Theatre Company.

With their lifelong quest for new and vital approaches to staging, their rejection of academicism and received wisdom, their irreverent, impish approach to the most venerable dramatic classics, Meyerbold and Blondell are clearly kindred spirits, so it is not surprising to find Blondell confessing, “I have been an admirer of Meyerhold for my entire directing career. His work has been a constant source of inspiration in the type and kinds of work I do, so when I learned that he had staged these three great farces as part of a Chekhov birthday celebration, I was immediately drawn to the idea of presenting them here at Westmont.”

If you know only Chekov’s quartet of masterpieces — Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters and The Seagull — you may be somewhat taken aback by the broad and boisterous humor of the three plays that make up 33 Swoons. They were written quite early in his career.

“The plays are wildly funny, have great opportunities for our actors, and frame Chekhov in a manner not normally associated with the reputation of the Russian playwright,” Blondell said. “They are part of a rich popular theater tradition called vaudeville, which was first developed in France, then adopted and adapted in a variety of countries, including the United States and Russia.”

33 Swoons will play at 8 p.m. every day of the run, with a 2 p.m. matinee on March 5. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults, and can be purchased at the door or by calling 805.565.7140.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >