The Matignon Drama Company’s fall production was “The Man Who Came to Dinner”; a Kaufman and Hart piece, the play tells the story of a injured radio man, Mr. Whiteside, who is bound to his wheelchair in the home of a wealthy family in the small Ohio town of Mesalia. Along the way Mr. Whiteside makes new friends and greets old on a wacky adventure to escape the Stanley’s and ruin the love life of his assistant, Maggie.
The two-night performance has been rehearsing since late September. The main role of Mr. Sheridan Whiteside was given to Will Carroll, a sophmore. Katie Coviello, who doubles as the Drama Company’s vice president, played Mr. Whiteside’s secretary – Maggie Cutler. Richard Ata and Bryn Siegel finished the main cast, playing Bert Jefferson and Lorraine Sheldon respectively.
Starting on Monday, December 10th, the cast and crew ran through the show every afternoon and into the night hours. The tech runs went as smooth as possible with only a few hiccups due to missed lines and cues, but on Thursday night, around 7:20 pm, disaster struck and shock spread through the cast. TMWCTD’s very own Bert Jefferson, Rich Ata, was injured. His knee popped out of place while he was on stage rehearsing. A source says that it was from “sitting down wrong”, others say it was the curse of the Scottish play. He was subsequently taken to the hospital after 911 was called. Rich didn’t come to school on Friday and the company had many questions remaining on what would happen and what this calamity meant for the future of the show. A brief meeting after school cleared the air and Rich came in to perform – on crutches, with a cast, of course.
His injury was worked into the play! Considering that Mr. Whiteside himself is in a wheelchair, Bert ad libbed lines, jokingly making the comparison between himself and Mr. Whiteside. It not only added some unintentional humor but the ever subtle message that the show must go on!
At 6pm on Friday night the whole cast and crew was eager to perform after the good news of Rich’s semi recovery. Mr. and Mrs. Stanley (played by Jake Hogan and Jacqueline Lemieux respectively) greeted the crowd, Mr. Whiteside started shouting off stage, the lights and curtain came up, and the play commenced. The play went on without a hitch and kept the audience intrigued, especially when Loraine was carried off in the sarcophagus. Matignon Drama Company Alumni were in attendance both nights, cheering on the next generation of performers.
Abby Lynch (class of 2022) says that her favorite part of the play was “Kaeshler’s performance as Dr. Bradley.”
An encore performance began at 4pm and the audience was small but engaged. After curtain call, tributes to the directors, Ms. Love and Ms. Townson, were given along with a special thank you to Ms. Cascio for her help with the props and set.
Another great performance from the Matignon Drama Company! Well done and good luck at Dramafest!
Written by: Abigail Stiltner