Arms and the ManThe Play

I attended the opening night of Arms and the Man on 3-14-14 at The Barn Theatre of Marin Art and Garden Center Ross Ca. directed by Ms. Chris Cassell. Cassell directed Ross Valley Players in “Night of the Iguana” and shows for S.F. Fringe Festival. The direction for “Arms and the Man” was done quite well and Cassell is a consummate professional.

The play depicted a zany comedy of love and war by playwright and author George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950). Born in Dublin Ireland and educated and worked in London. Shaw was a socialist and his views were unpopular in nationalistic and militaristic London at the time.
Arms and the Man portrays – as written by Shaw, presents a realistic view of war and not glorifying death and eradication of generations of men, families and cultures. There is an attempt at humor some may find amusing, such as hiding an enemy soldier on the heroine’s balcony and under her bed. The war was going on was between Serbia and long time rivals Austro Hungarian empire back at the turn of the eighteenth century. The good guys are supposed to be the Austro Hungarian homeland solders and the bad guys are the Serbian soldiers.

The heroine Ratina, is played by the absolutely beautiful and talented Kate Fox Marcom who hides the Serbian solder, Captain Bluntschli from the enemy or else he would be executed.. However the Serb’s enemy is her homeland’s military and king.. Now really – how many of us today can identify with one of the Austrian – Hungarian wars of the late 1880’s? I certainly can’t.
The cast consisted of seven actors and actresses whose acting skills were quite good. Even the tainted Russian and Serbian accents were almost believable. if not for being somewhat amusing.
Actress Stephanie Saunders Ahberg character (Catherine Petkoff), [The Winslow Boy, The Dresser credits] was notably believable as the protective mother of Ratina.

The other actors Ron Dailey (Major Paul Petkoff), Phillip Goldman as Cap’t Bluntschli had major parts in the play. Other notables did nice supporting roles and acceptable somewhat humorous acting skills.

On balance, if you want to see a somewhat slanted mildly humorous anti war play and you like George Bernard Shaw’s writing and plays – go see Arms and the Man otherwise you can watch Oprah on T.V.

My rating # 3.0 on five point scale.

Robert M. Chandler Events Critic For All Events