March 17, 2011By Tim Simard Observer staff
Anyone in need of a good laugh would do well to check out Champlain Valley Union High School’s upcoming production, “Tons of Money.” The play, a British farce taking place in the 1920s, involves a wide-ranging cast of characters, each of them trying to get their hands on a fistful of dough.
Director Candy Padula said while “Tons of Money” has decidedly British humor, the storyline and subplots are funny and accessible to all audiences. Several years ago, Padula directed the same play with high school students and found the results exciting. She wanted to try it again with CVU students.
“When you’re looking to cast a large group of people, you want a play that has a lot of roles like this one,” Padula said.
The play tells the story of a couple – Aubrey Henery Maitland Allington and his wife, Louise – who have fallen on hard economic times. While the couple has run out of money, they continue to live as if they are rich. But they can’t play that game forever.
Soon, Aubrey learns that, if he passes away, his cousin will receive a large inheritance. So the Allington’s hatch a scheme to fake Aubrey’s death, recover the money, and pay off their debtors. Of course, nothing goes according to plan once the Allington’s large house staff gets wind of the ploy.
British playwright Arthur Valentine wrote the play in the 1920s, which became a popular stage production and even a feature film in 1930.
To bring more variety to the production, Padula and the CVU cast decided to add music not originally part of “Tons of Money.”
Padula said a separate chorus of four students sings several 1920s-era tunes, with adapted lyrics that reflect the play’s storyline.
“Our singing ensemble gives us little clues to what’s going on in the play through their songs,” Padula said.
The combination of comedy, action and music should balance “Tons of Money” quite well, she said. It also helps the cast is a group of talented students, she added.
Senior Jameson Hurd and junior Olivia Cazayoux play the Allingtons. Other actors, such as sophomore Evan Cohen and senior Rosemary Moore, play the Allington’s butler and maid, respectively.
Moore said she’s enjoyed her role as Simpson the maid. The character’s “dim-witted” nature allows for many comedic moments, she said. Moore said rehearsals have been fun and she looks forward to opening night.
“The rehearsals have been very productive and fun, and the cast is just having so much fun together, especially in our final week,” Moore said. “It seems like things are really coming together.”
“The experience of this show as a whole is probably my favorite so far at CVU, but hopefully there will be more to come,” he said.
Performance dates for “Tons of Money” are Thursday and Friday, March 17 and 18, at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee show on Saturday, March 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for CVU students, children, faculty and staff. General admission tickets are $7.