The Gondoliers

From Rev. Jeremy Simons, Cathedral Chaplain
May 15, 2017

Spring in Bryn Athyn means flowers, school trips, graduations, and terrific plays. The high school production of Mary Poppins put me in a good mood that has lasted several weeks now. This weekend I am looking forward to BAct’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers.”

The Academy put on this same operetta in 1970 when I was in the Boys School. I played the part of Marco, one of the two gondoliers in the story, with Lawson Smith as Guisseppe, and Alyce Barry and Donna Zeitz Carswell as Giannetta and Tessa. Incredibly, I have no memory of the plot and I look forward to seeing it this weekend to discover what it was about. The great Emily Asplundh, whom we loved, was our director. She took a special trip to Venice to add authenticity to the production, and she told us stories about what it was like to give us perspective. I wonder if Gilbert or Sullivan ever went to Venice. We also enjoyed swimming in her pool after play practice. Mark Bostock directed the music and Cathy Odhner played the piano and was nice to us, sharing these special candies from a tin on her piano. The acoustics in the Assembly Hall were not nearly as nice as they are now.

I believe that “The Gondoliers” was also put on in Bryn Athyn in 1941, when my mother played the part of Casilda, and 1951, in which Dale Doering played the part of Marco. I’m sure others will know more about these.

Being part of a play is an exhilarating experience and a valuable aspect of education–a side that is very different from the classroom or the sports field. This past weekend the high school clubs had telegrams, which were very entertaining. Good experiences for everyone.

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