Submitted for publication to
Orange County Register
Sunday, December 14, 2008
THE CURIOUS SAVAGE
Brethren Christian's "Savage" surprisingly touching and insightful
by CINDY KOK
FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Cindy Kok is a senior at Irvine High School in Irvine.
Insanity can be relative. Brethren Christian High School’s “The
Curious Savage,” a classic comedy by John Patrick, backs the truth
of this statement. Setting up a sharp contrast between friendly
sanitarium inmates and money-grubbing high-society people, Patrick
leaves audiences questioning who the truly insane are.
This heart-warming tale tells the story of Ethel Savage, an
unconventional, wealthy widow, whose estranged stepchildren try to
institutionalize her in the Cloisters when she chooses to create a
charity fund rather than leave them her money. In the Cloisters, she
meets several social misfits, who—although eccentric—immediately
befriend her. With their help, Mrs. Savage manages to get the best
of her materialistic children and finally live life on her own
Tivoli Hudson adeptly leads as the titular Ethel Savage, uniting the
ensembles of the greedy Savage family and the quirky Cloisters
guests. Never faltering from her comical accent, Hudson finds a
balance between flippancy and seriousness, expertly characterizing
the acerbic yet vulnerable Mrs. Savage.
Mrs. Savage’s brief stay changed the Cloisters guests, but they also
changed her. Patrick Quinn tackles one of the more serious roles in
this play, Jeffery, a psychologically-scarred veteran, with
consistency and dedication. Also, Katharyn Stong skillfully makes
Fairy May’s idiosyncrasies endearing, delivering droll lines with
precise timing and diction. From the compassionate Florence,
Hannibal, Fairy May and Jeffery, Mrs. Savage finds immediate love
The loyal Cloisters guests protect Mrs. Savage from her children,
the pompous senator Titus (Kasey Norton), the gold-digging socialite
Lily Belle (Hailey Harrington), and the clueless judge Samuel
(Zachary Hinkley). With a fittingly high-pitched New York accent,
Harrington portrays her character as an obnoxious spoiled heiress
who easily strong-arms her brothers into following her will.
Although some actors struggled with fully developing their
characters and others with enunciation, the cast nonetheless
succeeds in conveying the story’s theme of kindness with humor and
wit. With high energy, the actors kept up the humorous tone of the
story with improvisation and well-timed delivery, but also managed
to communicate the serious moments.
Providing a backdrop to the play, the multi-talented Shawn Southard
creates a well-designed set that allows actors to use the stage
effectively. The stage crew kept the show running effectively
through inconspicuous and immediate scene changes. Well-directed
lighting and smooth transitions contributed to a poignant final
Surprisingly touching and insightful, Brethren Christian High
School’s production of “The Curious Savage” provides an
entertaining, memorable theater experience.
Lutheran HS of OC
Submitted for publication to Orange County Register 2
THE CURIOUS SAVAGE
Brethren Christian gives a strong, enthusiastic, performance
by KATIE WRIGHT
FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Katie Wright is a senior at Lutheran High School of Orange County in
Mental patients, teddy bears, and a kooky old broad combine for
raucous laughs and melancholy sweetness in Brethren Christian’s
productions of the vintage play, The Curious Savage. The play is a
post-war comedy about a quirky widow, Ethel Savage. Hilarity
heartwarmingly ensues when Ethel’s greedy stepchildren have her
committed, only to realize she has hidden the family fortune.
Tivoli Hudson headed up the cast as the eccentric Mrs. Savage,
bringing a laugh-out-loud comic timing and an extraordinary
commitment and depth to the role. She truly shone as an incredibly
gifted actress; able to perform with much emotion and humor, and
on-the-ball enough to keep the audience laughing even through set
malfunctions. Obvious statement though it may be, the leading lady
truly stole the show.
Katharyn Stong played Fairy May, the silly, talkative dreamer who
lives in the institution with Mrs. Savage. Stong hits the whimsical
character right on, playing her over-the-top but utilizing clear and
natural diction where others were harder to hear. Patrick Quinn
played another patient, a delusional war vet Jeffrey. Quinn is
bittersweet, building his character carefully and showing great
commitment to his complicated role.
Montgomery Shaw brings laughs as the offbeat Hannibal; committing to
his comical “schtick,” but never letting it detract from the
storyline. Taylor Lardas also brings a burst of humor the show as
the ranting Mrs. Paddy.
The technical aspects of the show contributed incredibly to the
performance, an admirable job for the stage, set, lighting, and
sound crew. The lighting was very simplistic but lent itself well to
the set, making it easy to differentiate the time of day or tone of
the scene and portraying it in a very creative manner.
Overall, Brethren Christian gives a strong, enthusiastic,
performance with creative, committed acting and a carefully and
Lutheran HS of OC
Submitted for publication to OC Register Alternate
An insane asylum is not the first place people would look for
entertainment, laughter, and friendship. However, at The Cloisters
in Brethren Christian’s performance of “The Curious Savage,”
audiences find just that.
The story follows the life of Ethel Savage, who has been admitted to
an asylum by her greedy stepchildren. Ethel, who is obviously not
insane, is sent on a whirlwind journey where she discovers much
about herself from the guests at The Cloisters.
Ethel Savage (Tivoli Hudson) lights up the stage with her commanding
presence. Her commitment to her character shows talent beyond her
years. She is also very consistent in her performance, most notably
shown through her accent, and has remarkable comedic timing that
keeps the audience entertained whenever she steps onstage.
The guests at The Cloisters have great chemistry in all of their
group scenes. They all do a wonderful job building their characters,
and display a unity that is endearing to the audience. While at
times the actors break character and stumble over lines, their small
family works together very well, and make the show especially
touching. Jeffery (Patrick Quinn) stays in character exceptionally
well, as he has to keep his hand on his face almost every time he is
onstage. The development of his character is strong and he is very
natural on stage. Another standout Cloister guest is Fairy May (Katharyn
Stong), who is a joy to watch onstage.
The Savage family (KC Norton, Zachary Hinkley, and Hailey
Harrington) play the perfect antagonists in the play.
The play’s lighting, set, and sound set the mood for the show and
allow for smooth transitions in the play. The technicians faced many
obstacles, such as lights suddenly turning on and off, and they
handled them skillfully. The music during the show also sets the
time period and ambiance that the show projected.
Brethren Christian’s comedic play, “The Curious Savages,” does not
only leave audiences rolling with laughter, but tells a beautiful
message that is well executed by the cast.