Funny, touching and comedic, the theatre department of Cosumnes River College has done a splendid job of performing their latest play “Arms and the Man.”
Although the title could mislead one to believe that the play would literally center around a man and his appendages, in reality the plot was in stark contrast.
The time-frame of the play was set during 1885, during the aftermath of the Serbo-Bulgarian war, in a small village located in Bulgaria.
It follows the story of Swiss soldier Captain Bluntschli, played by Alexander Lucas, who is in the Serbian army and by chance, finds himself in the company of wealthy, young Bulgarian Raina Petkoff, who is played by Carmel Suchard, all while evading Russian forces.
The events all begin when Bluntschli ascends the terrace of Raina’s balcony and begs her to hide him from the pursuing Russian forces. At some point the tired and bloody Swiss soldier, after two agonizing days of no sleep or food, fondly reiterates a time in which he ate nothing but chocolate on the battlefield.
Raina, as a gesture of goodwill towards her detainee, offers him cream chocolates that are located under a large portrait of her betrothed, Major Sergius Saranoff, played by Francisco Luna. Who has quite an outstanding mustache.
Though slow at first, with the characters speaking in a confusing old English dialect that had to be continuously decoded, from that point on the love story unfolded as war was over, and relationships were broken.
Raina’s dear soon-to-be husband, sly and outrageous as he was, pursued Raina’s serving maid Louka played by Maggie Perez, behind her back and she herself starting to delve into the unknown territory of attraction for her chocolate cream soldier, as she had named him.
Amidst the secrets and deceit, there was always an underlying tone of satirical humor surrounding the idea of war and love. The soldiers in both Bluntschli and Major Paul Petkoff’s-who was Raina’s father and played by Dustin White- armies apparently fled the battle scene like the brave, and valiant soldiers they were. While the two main couples of the play all had different ideas of what love was. Whether sincere, passionate, unfaithful or playful, all had a funny way of showing it.
The acting of the male lead and the main male characters were quite strong throughout the play, as a whole. The female characters were also just as good, however the female main lead either overplayed her character or her character was just down-right silly and over dramatic. Which is a good thing, but quite cliche.
The way the characters interacted with each other was beyond hilarious. Every line was delivered with a heavy amount of sarcasm and satire, and was received by bellows of laughter from the audience.
In general, the sheer amount of humor and heart-felt acting filled with passionate performances, is what made this play worth seeing, and I would recommend that students go and see the play some time or catch another one next fall.