Light in the Piazza- Technical Review

Jonathan Allen

As each student walks through those red gates, on the King’s Academy campus once again, a hint of change can be found lingering in the air. The Smith Family Conservatory of the Arts is ready to be up running once again but their productions appear to have somewhat of a twist. The roar of the crowd is a luxury the cast of The Light in the Piazza won’t get to appreciate this year. Though regardless, the work ethic has only grown stronger as in this show they are now working to solely better themselves, rather than just performing for an audience. Each of the students’ intellectual property has been able to grow and develop a lot more during this project, as it requires such high intellect to be able to grasp some of the mature and wretched themes as well as recognize the musical motifs.

The show struggles with ideas like being mentally challenged, controlling and psychologically warped parents, abuse, neglect, alcoholism, cheating, and more. It is interesting to see such young actors and actresses research in an attempt to pull off these roles and truly get in the mindset of their characters. I know many have watched movies from the period in an attempt to cultivate and truly develop the sense of Italian fellowship and culture, as well as the dialect.

In musical theatre, dialect is one of many vital aspects of a character. Perfect the Italian dialect or as some may call it an accent is far from an easy task, let alone multiple characters sing and speak in Italian throughout the show. After talking with Senior, Noah Winters, who plays the lead Fabrizio Nacarelli, it was interesting to see how he uses his expression and emotions to convey his message when speaking in Italian. “Singing in a language you know that most of the audience won’t understand is quite a challenge, because it requires you to be so much more vivid and expressive so they can truly understand and grasp the ideas and themes you are trying to convey.” Senior Camden Popadic who plays the role of Signor Nacarelli talked to me about the difficulty of playing a character who is more than four times his age. He talks about looking to the elders that were placed in his own life. He studied their mannerisms and colloquialism and tried to incorporate what he could. He also found he had to greatly affect his vocal inflection so he can read older to the audience and they could believe he truly was in his 50’s or 60’s.

Looking at these items is so important because it adds so many layers to each character and accentuates so many hidden things. Many students and cast members have said after working like this and seeing a far greater range of progress, we can’t go back. Though by the looks of this year and the pandemic still holding steadfast over our county, I don’t see that being a problem anytime soon.