‘Le Dindon’ an absolute treat

Marissa Tarabocchia

In a time of arduous financial difficulties, drastic political shifts and even school-related stress, sometimes all we need is a hearty, side-splitting laugh to alleviate the tension.

Worry no more: Such laughs are delivered with ease by Villanova Theatre’s production of “Le Dindon (An Absolute Turkey).”

Starring 17 theatre graduate students, two alumni of the program, one undergraduate student and one professor, “Le Dindon” is a comedic delight written by famed French dramatist and farce-guru Georges Feydeau.

Barrymore Award-winning director Harriet Power prompts audience members unfamiliar with the premise of the play to “think [of ‘Le Dindon’ as] ‘I Love Lucy’ meets 1930s Paris.”

One cannot help but to imagine the mishaps of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz when observing the easily avoidable marital trials of central couple Vatelin (Nick Falco) and Lucienne (Jessica Conrad Bedford).

Chock full of romantic intrigue and sexual innuendos, “Le Dindon” focuses on Vatelin and Lucienne’s attempt to retain a marriage of equality first and fidelity second, a concept not entirely unheard of in the play’s context.

Paris encompassed an air of gender equality in relation to marriage in the 1930s. Lucienne’s willingness to run to the bed of another man if she ever learned of any infidelity from her husband was a contemporary feminine view of the time period.

Women were free to express their sexuality in the same vein as men, and this aspect of the decade’s culture is highly accentuated by playwright Feydeau.

The ever-enthusiastic Potagnac (Luke Moyer) and smooth-talking womanizer Redillon (Jeffrey S. Paden) create temporary and chuckle-worthy roadblocks on Vatelin and Lucienne’s journey to a happy and healthy relationship.

Supporting characters Mme. Potagnac (Kathryn M. Lyles), Mitzi (Katie Mull), Soldignac (Bill D’Agostino), Pinchard (Paul Guerin), Mme. Pinchard (Amy Walton), Victor (Andy Shaw) and Gerome (Charles Helmetag) all provide great humor throughout the play, with Mitzi’s spot-on Swiss accent being a highlight of the show.

Dramatic irony weaves the plot together as an array of misunderstandings, betrayals and liaisons ensue.

Beyond the talented acting and comical plot, “Le Dindon” is visually stunning. The theatre becomes immersed in a gilded drawing room, a lovely pink-themed hotel room and a red-based study, all complete with statues, paintings and cushioned furniture.

Adding to the visual element of the play are the costumes. Costume designer Charlotte Cloe Fox Wind creates garments reminiscent of the time period as well as the personalities of the characters who wear them.

An example of this continuity between setting and character is the ostentatious faux fur-lined robe of the flirtatious Armandine (Kristen O’Rourke).

Together, the set and the costumes add a visual appeal that effectively complements the actors and the storyline.

“Le Dindon (An Absolute Turkey)” is showing in Vasey Hall tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.