The Sam Houston State University Theatre Department’s production of Charles Mee’s romantic comedy left audiences with split sides in an unforgettable performance of “Cardenio” directed by Director David McTier.
The play follows a group of young friends who are in Italy for a wedding, but chaos ensues between the relationships of the characters once they begin to doubt their partners’ faithfulness.
Accompanied with an envious sister, a profoundly oblivious newlywed and a misunderstood Albanian carpenter, “Cardenio” adds up to a whirlwind of emotions and love triangles.
“Cardenio” is expressed in its comical glory by the SHSU cast members, but the lost Shakespearean play is cringe-worthy in the decisions made by the characters.
The newlyweds Anselmo, played by senior theatre major Nathan Wilson, and Camila, played by senior theatre major Mackenzie Haffey, are destined for a tragic end, as Anselmo doubts Camila’s loyalty to him from the initial moment of marriage.
As Anselmo’s insecurities grow, he enlists the help of his best friend, Will, played by sophomore theatre major Adonis Banuelos to try to seduce Camila.
Wilson played Anselmo convincingly as a lost newlywed who is swept away by his college crush, Susana, played by junior theatre major Savannah Lee.
Lee left the audience in wonder as she often simultaneously impressed Anselmo and sent Camila into Will’s comfort.
Senior theatre major Cortney Hafner gave an unparalleled performance as Doris, Camila’s bitter sister. Her snarky and sarcastic remarks to the rest of the cast were an audience favorite. Hafner’s mannerisms were quirky and consistent throughout the play, but perfected the role.
The play was advertised for a mature audience, and that was nothing short of the truth. The adult content was there, but was presented in full tilt hilarity that included a slight mishap with female stimulator.
Additional wedding guests, Sally and Edmund, ran in circles as they attempted to reconcile their jealously fueled marriage.
Sally, played by senior theatre major Channing Horton, was a hotheaded wife with the emotional status of a young teenager. Horton seamlessly portrayed Sally to her full potential, including a few mature scenes that required serious emotional control, unlike her character.
Horton’s other half, played by sophomore theatre major Stephen Swank, Edmund mirrored the maturity of Sally. Swank’s ability to convey the emotions of a husband who has been cheated on was both authentic and a fresh breath of reality to a comical play.
“Cardenio” featured freshmen Raphael Bailey as Rudi and Scott Lathrom as the narrator. Bailey’s portrayal of Rudi, an Albanian carpenter was anything but generic, his energy could be felt across the auditorium, another audience favorite.
“Cardenio” is a quirky production that explored the vast array of love triangles between a close-knit group of oddball characters. This play left audience in wonder until the end, and will no doubt become a fan favorite that will continue to be discussed in the future.