The Gamester’ was a lucky gamble

By Sonia Aguije

Love and lady luck are the main contenders in Freyda Thomas’s “The Gamester’. Based on ‘Le Jouer’, play by Jean Fancois Regnard and directed by Dennis Turney, a professor at Kean. The University department of theater presented ‘The Gamester’ and it played a lucky hand in this production. It ran at Wilkins Theater, November 30 through December 1- 8.

‘The Gamester’ is one of the 4 shows per year put on by Kean student of the Department of theater. Not to be confused with Premiere Stages a professional theater company in residence of Kean.

“People are laughing a lot, and seeming to enjoy the spectacle that this show brings to the eyes,” said Turney.

It is comedic and relatable even if its 18th century Paris. It is also very clever and humorous. The play contains similarities to Restoration comedy, a form of drama that flourished during the restoration of England and is spoken in rhyming couplets. Plus, the rocking baroque dance number was unexpectedly rad.

The plot is entertaining and swift. Our main player Valere (Lucas Pinner; a senior perusing a BFA degree in theater performance) both a lover and gambler is a man torn by his passion for gambling and his adoration for Angelique (Cara Ganski; junior pursuing a BFA in Theater Performance). Valere is on the run from creditors (Austin Brecht; freshman pursuing a BFA in Theater Performance and Rebecca Bowe; senior BFA performance major), a promiscuous widow Securite (Megan Stone; a junior pursuing a BA degree in performance), Angelique’s love sick sister Argante (Carolyn Vicari; a theater major), and his very fate.  He tries convincing himself to stop gambling, to give up the cards, the dice and wheel. Valere even has sexual relations with Securite the widow for money; he’s desperate for money.

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Hector (Zachary McCullough; enrolled at kean University’s College of Visual Performing Arts pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theater Performance) his loyal servant is delightful, looking after Valere even after continually disappointing him. Valere lies to himself every time and to those around him with empty promises especially his father (Stephen Mishkovsky; freshman and majoring as a BA in Theater and English) and Angelique the love stuck beauty. Who’s too naïve at times to realize the one she loves is betraying her every time he enters the gambling hall. Love is most defiantly blind and she can only see the best in him especially when he speaks of his “love” for her. She is instantly swooning.

With meddling by Preferee (Andria Rogers; a senior pursuing a BFA degree in theater performance) Angelique’s companion and Dorante (Joshua Schnetzer; senior Theater major with a minor in dance) Valere’s unattractive bald, wealthy uncle Valere is tempted and tested to give in to his compulsive gambling and is ultimately won over. He proclaims, “Life is so dull, when all is said and done. I’ve got to have that rush of blood, the brisk sense of adventure, danger. Yes, the risk! I’m going to play-tonight, right now, at once!”

Thus, losing Angelique briefly until he is forgiven because of his very dramatic, honest plead of death at the hands of Faux Pas (Steven Carter; junior pursuing a BFA in Theater Performance). Almost everyone has learned a lesson or acquired a lover at the end of the play even Hector found Betty( Sara Leone; third year and pursuing a bachelor of Fine Arts in theater performance) a servant to marry. Angelique is now more careful in regards to her relationship with Valere. Just because you’re in love crazed doesn’t mean you have to be ignorant of your partners’ flaws. Argante saw the light when she finally decided to give Faux Paus a chance to love her. Faux Paus was a very vivid, eccentric character by far one of the outstanding performances. All in all, morals, power, sex, love, meddling, wealth, and compulsive gambling are relevant to our time and will probably always be. Who doesn’t love gambling with their very lives? To rise or fall because of our vices and learning from our mistakes. Life’s a gamble it takes more than just luck.

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