If you didn’t manage to catch Colorado Mesa University’s preforming arts spring show, the Pirates of Penzance, you missed quite an extravaganza.
The show, written by the dynamic playwright duo Gilbert and Sullivan, is a lighthearted and fun-filled romp. The plot is basic, a pirate, Frederick, finishes his contract of duty with the Pirate King’s crew. Upon making land, he falls in love. Only to find out that due to a paradoxical technicality, he must continue his service to the pirate king for an insurmountable time.
All too often, younger individuals turn away from the stage performance and to film and video game. Gilbert and Sullivan’s writing will keep the young ones hooked. I found myself and fellow same-aged compatriot laughing a whole lot more than some of the older members of the audience. G&S do a fair amount of “breaking the fourth wall.” This means that the characters in the play acknowledge the existence of the audience. They admonish information to the audience as if the audience is part of the play.
This play knows that it is a play. It has a satirical knack of making fun of plays themselves. At one point in the show, one character quietly lets another character, a pirate, know that the pirates are supposed to be in an upper corner of the stage during that scene, not front and center next to him. The writing is fast and quick. Jokes are delivered so quickly that by the time you hear one punch line, another joke has already started.
The Moss crew is spectacular. The choreography shown by the cast shows as much inherent, individual skill as it does teamwork and cooperation between each cast member. The trigger happy pirate crew steals the show as they bumble for their weapons and bicker with one another.
This show, and others by its creators are the perfect brand for a college-age audience. It’s got spontaneity, broad vocabulary, random and inexplicable happenings. It’s also got sexual innuendos and pelvic thrusting. College students love pelvic thrusting.
I implore both those who saw the show and those who missed it to give Gilbert and Sullivan a chance the next time one of their works plays near them. The two have influenced more than just stage performers. If you’re a fan of Family Guy, you’ll see a fair amount of G&S parodied there. Mr. McFarlane is a fan.