USD Theatre presents 18th century comedy ‘The Rivals’

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre will take audiences back to 18th century England for "The Rivals," a comedy by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, April 25-26 and April 28-29 at 7:30 p.m. and April 27 at 2 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.

A masterful example of comedy of manners, "The Rivals" is set in 18th century Bath, England, where the heroine, Lydia Languish (Katie Henrichsen of Sioux Falls, S.D.), is obsessed with romantic ideals of love. Captain Absolute (Jonnie Stapleton of South Sioux City, Neb.)is a wealthy gentleman who assumes the disguise of a poor soldier, Ensign Beverly, as a strategy to win her hand in marriage. His disguise leads to mistaken identity while jealous suitors compete for her affection and parental figures seek to end the whole affair. Although it looks like it will all end in calamity, love rules the day.

Miles Brindley says the experience of working on a high comedy has been both challenging and rewarding. "It’s been a wonderful experience to experiment with a form of theatre that requires such unique style and commitment," added Brindley, who is from Belle Fourche, S.D.

Other members of the cast include Dacia Dick (Philip, S.D.) as Mrs. Malaprop, Danielle Herren (Sioux Falls, S.D.) as Julia Melville, Erin Gallion (Salina, Kan.) as Lucy, Eric Adams (Omaha, Neb.) as Sir Anthony Absolute, Rob Garness (Belle Fourche, S.D.) as Mr. Faulkland, Paul Petersen (Cheyenne, Wyo.) as Bob Acres, and Tyler Hudson (South Sioux City, Neb.) as Lucius O’Trigger. Ben Kramer (Sioux Falls, S.D.) as David, Phil Johnson (Yankton, S.D.) as Rafe and David Hernandez (Huron, S.D.) as Thomas round out the cast.

Theatre professor Roberta Rude directs the action while Linda Wigley Scribner, associate professor of theatre, designs the period costumes and makeup.  Student designers Jody Tidwell (Kearney, Neb.) and Emily Staloch (Albert Lea, Minn.), design the setting and lighting, respectively.  

Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for youth (K-12) and non-USD students, and $4 for USD students with valid ID.  The University Theatre box office is open weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. beginning Friday, April 18 and noon to curtain on days of performance.  Reservations can be made by calling the box office at (605) 677-5400 or online at www.usd.edu/cfa/Theatre.