“The Good Doctor” cures

Debuting last Thursday at Castleton State College was the theater department’s first production on the stage, Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor directed by Steve Small.

Set in 19thcentury Russia, the comedy plays out in a series of vignettes interconnected by one character and narrator, The Writer, played by sophomore theater major Benjamin Villa.

Characters converse with Villa, repeatedly break the fourth wall, and frequently rolling onto stage as if fleeting thoughts and memories. The scenes were varied in context and made fun of various Russian idiosyncrasies.

Two elderly Russian veterans, played by junior Rob Valenti and sophomore Michael Tuffy, would meet every Tuesday on a park bench in which to argue, as former military commanders, about lunch.

In another, senior Austyn Bevin plays a Russian General victim to a sneeze upon the back of his head during a theater performance. Much to the dismay of his subordinate, Cherdiakov, played by sophomore Eric Monzel, he attempts to apologize but only insults the General further and then dies (or finds 5 million rubles, the alternate ending Villa pronounces).

Senior Meghan Hakey shined and kept the theater rolling with her energized portrayal of a wildly eager dental student removing a rotten tooth. Later in the play she returned as a peasant who unknowingly tortures the gout-afflicted banker, sophomore Jeff Blanchette, with her infuriating misunderstandings of everyone around her.

Another gem of the production was sophomore Hayley Ryan who plays an actress who walked from Odessa to Moscow in order to perform a single audition. Though she misunderstands the majority of what is said to her, she succeeds in begging to perform a single monologue– each character from the ending scene of Anton Chekov’s The Three Sisters.

The Good Doctor isn’t as accessible as a production with a beginning, middle and end. It flows in an out of context as though it were a subconscious asks the audience to enjoy the vices, oddities and virtues of its characters rather than to interpret them. The Good Doctor was an enjoyable and long-awaited return to the Castleton stage.

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