Masque & Triangle Presents: ‘Something Rotten!’

Over the course of four days last weekend, Colgate University student theater group Masque & Triangle (M&T) put on five showings of “Something Rotten!,” a musical comedy that debuted on Broadway in 2015 and has since earned several Tony Award nominations.

In M&T’s rendition of the acclaimed play, the stunning voice of sophomore Clementina Aboagye as Minstrel rings out as the curtain draws back, introducing the audience to the time period with the catchy opening number “Welcome to the Renaissance.” The costumes were fun and vibrant, perfect for the enigmatic cast that filled the theater with the audience’s laughter. 

Soon after, the audience is introduced to playwright Nick Bottom (played by first-year Tanner Harmon) and his younger brother, poet Nigel Bottom (played by first-year Corrigan Peters). As they attempt to write a successful play, the stresses of maintaining the family finances weigh on Nick. Another challenge for the Bottom brothers: competing with their highly successful contemporary, William Shakespeare.

Junior Sophie Tinley attended the production and praised the student actors, particularly the younger ones.

“The thing that I was most impressed about was that a lot of the lead roles were [first-years], and so it was really nice to see all the talent they have from younger students who are going to only get better in future years,” Tinley said. “I totally wasn’t expecting that.”

We are also introduced to Nick’s wife Bea, played by junior Rachel Sita, who continuously made the audience laugh and cheer as she expresses her character’s resentment of sitting at home while the financial situation is “handled” by the men.

In her song “Right Hand Man,” Bea continues to try to make her husband see that she can help. To much laughter, she tries to let him see her acting skills and takes odd jobs disguised as a man. 

After accepting that he is out of original ideas, Nick decides to meet with a soothsayer — the very wacky Nostradamus, played by sophomore Alex Tauber — who will help him discover what Shakespeare’s next great work will be. 

The play also included references to other theater productions, including “Les Miserables,” “Annie,” “Hairspray,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Cats.” 

Shakespeare, portrayed as a rock star and played by senior Sebastian Coco, was portrayed as a goofy, almost cartoon-like character.

Peters also portrays Nigel well with a quiet, slightly awkward presence, but with an energy that made the whole audience laugh. From disagreeing with his love interest Portia, played by sophomore Katie Victor, to being completely doughy-eyed as he reads his poem too fast, the character was quite endearing.

Ultimately, while Nick decides to write a musical, Nigel isn’t on board.  As a fellow lover of poetry, Portia helps him realize that he should write what speaks to him. Nigel and Shakespeare contemporaneously try to come up with new ideas for their respective creative works.

Later, the forbidden love story of Nigel and Portia is told. Nigel is utterly infatuated with the beauty of poetry while Portia’s father, Brother Jeremiah — played by senior Kurt Ger — exclaims that everything creative and beautiful is a sin. It’s safe to say that Brother Jeremiah does not approve of his daughter’s affection for Nigel. 

After Nick’s production of “Omelet” — a result of Nostradamus’ misinterpretation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” — he loses his funding from Lady Clapham (played by sophomore Eris Markwell) and he turns to Shylock (junior Alexander Kraut) for help.

As the play nears its close, the entire cast and writers of Omelet face trial for their crimes of creativity and artistic expression. They are ultimately banished and make their way to America for new opportunities. Meanwhile, Shakespeare is praised for the success of “Hamlet.” 

The cast and crew put on a successful production, from their seamless transitions to their energetic choreography and strong voices that held throughout the duration of the play.

“The acting and singing was top notch and made the play as successful as it was. It made for a great evening full of laughs,” junior Liv Mikesell said.

Junior Ellie Markwick agreed, claiming: “Each actor embodied their role perfectly. My friends and I were laughing for the majority of the show!”