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The following is a review of a recent play that Stephen appeared in. We were fortunate enough to attend the play (twice actually) and enjoyed it immensly. Stephen displayed his outstanding talent once again in the semi-comical role of Phillipe Derrien.

The basic premise to the play was a competition between Phillipe and Robert Lebret (Peter Jacobson) to be the architect to design the first monument on the moon.

Ce Qui Arrive et Ce Qu'on Attend
By Jean Marie-Besset

Peter Jacobson and Pamela Payton-Wright

Reviewed by Karl Levett

Expectations, both professional and private, are the theme of this charmingly sophisticated comedy by Jean-Marie Besset, in a translation by Hal J. Witt—and indeed it is a witty rendering.

This multi-leveled work of 100 intermission-less minutes begins satirically about public concerns but gradually deepens as the characters’ private needs come to the fore. Under Christopher Ashley’s sensitive direction, the Gallic sensibilities of the play have been left intact in a handsome production that is a treat for both ear and eye.

The fanciful premise concerns two rival architects and a competition to put the first monument on the moon. Rumpled Phillipe Derrien (Stephen Caffrey), aided by his lovely wife Nathalie (Kathryn Meisle), is up against slick Robert Lebret (Peter Jacobson). The French judging panel is led by the predatory Madame Erkanter (Pamela Payton-Wright)—known to all as the Red Empress—with the assistance of the European representative, Pericles Feyder (T. Scott Cunningham). When in Paris, Pericles stays with his Anglo-French friend Neil Abbot (Daniel Gerroll), the comedy’s agent provocateur. With Phillipe rediscovering his childhood friend Pericles, the play’s satire of French bureaucracy and art darkens to a tale of love and betrayal.

Klara Zieglerova’s elegant and imaginative scenic design, beautifully lit by Frances Aronson, is just the setting for the play’s worldly themes. This is a superlative cast—there’s not a false note anywhere. (Even Adam Greer’s Guard has presence). Caffrey’s Phillipe is the worried centre of the play with Meisle’s Nathalie supplying the philosophical grace notes. The mix of comic hyperbole and wisdom is expertly provided by both Payton-Wright’s believable ogre and Gerroll’s jaded gadfly. Gerroll, who came late to the production, delivers the play’s best lines, again demonstrating his being among the most talented and versatile of New York actors.


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