If you’ve seen the musical “Hello, Dolly!” (or the movie Wall-E which features scenes and music from “Hello, Dolly!”), then you’ve seen the lighthearted interpretation of Thornton Wilder’s play “The Matchmaker”.
Wilder’s satirical and slapstick soliloquies make quick work of society norms, attacking Victorian views on gender, social status and marriage. For the teenage cast, the production was one of Dublin High’s most complex, involving four intricate set changes (cleverly entertaining with Barbra Streisand’s “Dolly” playing between Acts). The young cast didn’t miss a beat, with timing and numerous props playing a key role in many scenes.
The play also offers rich roles for many students, with the part of Horace Vandergelder providing a catalog of quotable insults: “You’re an impertinent fool, that’s what you are. Now, if you behave yourself, I’ll promote you from impertinent fool to chief clerk, with a raise in your wages. And Barnaby may be promoted from idiot apprentice to incompetent clerk.”
Surrounding and infuriating Vandergelder are a troupe of characters including the adventure-seeking Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker, their romantic counterparts Irene Molloy and Minnie Fay, as well as numerous other personalities distinct and entertaining.
The soliloquies aren’t the only elements reminiscent of a Shakespearean comedy – the play also features mistaken identity, slapstick, romance, an ending free of loose ends, and well-crafted morsels of wisdom. As Mrs. Dolly Levi observes, “The difference between a little money and no money at all is enormous – and can shatter the world. The difference between a little money and an enormous amount of money is very slight – and that, also, can shatter the world.”
In a first for Dublin High (at least in recent years), the magic of live theatre also included a live cricket who, entertained by the performance, chose to “sing” until “escorted” out of Dublin High’s Little Theatre by a cricket-whispering parent.
If it’s “pudding” you are after (that will make more sense after you see the play), then it is “pudding” you will get in Dublin High’s production of “The Matchmaker”.
“The Matchmaker” continues with performances Friday and Saturday night at 7pm and closes Sunday with a 2pm matinée. As has been the tradition for many years at Dublin High, the play is double-cast to provide as many students as possible an opportunity to perform. Dublin High students also perform the critical roles back stage that make the magic on stage possible.
The program for the production is available here.