Theater Review: ‘The Way of the World’ at Rockford College

By Edith McCauley
Theater Critic

The recent production of William Congreve’s classic 18th-century drama is rarely seen on stage. Directed by Deborah Mogford, the many demands of staging this production include its complicated plot and dialogue, the amazing costumes, wigs and makeup, and the cast of talented actors.

Jeff Hendry’s costumes are amazing. The complexity and detail keep us fascinated. Early in Act I, we encounter Mr. Fainall (Eric Woelbling) and Mirabell (Dakota Bryant) at cards discussing the complicated details of the plot. Enter Witwoud (Andrew Harth), the perfect Fop. His outrageous costume and stark white makeup define him perfectly. As he is accompanied by Petulant (Alex Smith), his companion, we soon realize they will become the comic highlights of the evening.

The ladies in their spectacular gowns soon share the details of their complicated love lives. Congreve explores the vanity, greed and sexual intrigue of his age. Marriages are made for the sake of convenience, and extramarital affairs are tolerated with precise social limits.

The extensive cast reminds one of Upstairs, Downstairs. Two different societies exist, the world of “Ladies and Gentlemen” and those below stairs, who serve them.

It would take pages to review the details of this complicated play. Needless to say, it was most enjoyable. The Theater Department at Rockford College provides an outstanding program for those students who seek their future in the arts. Every aspect of theater is provided to them.

The next production, Trojan Women, will be mounted in the Cheek Theatre at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 28-March 3, 2013. For ticket information, call (815) 226-4100.

From the Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2012, issue

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