Play Preview: The Royal Family

This season the Theater Department went with something old and something new—and all things funny.

The new was “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” which ran in October.

The old is “The Royal Family,” written by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, which premiered on Broadway in December of 1927, and is being directed at Pierce by Anita Adcock, an instructor in the Theater Arts department.

“It’s a classic American-comedy set in New York and written in the 1920’s,” Adcock said.

“The Royal Family” is a play about the Barrymore family’s acting dynasty. Kaufman could not say the play was based on them so he called them the Cavendish family.

“We have a lot of older subscribers [to the theater] who will love the setting of it because it is very opulent and we also have 1920’s music,” Adcock said. “After our last really modern play, it gives a completely different vibe to the theater.”

The play is difficult with a lot of stage direction and running around for the actors. One of the more difficult scenes involves a sword fight coming down a staircase.

Tamarah Ashton is the lead actress and plays Julie Cavendish who is based on the actress Ethel Barrymore.

“Julie is the person that tries to keep everything together,” Ashton said. “Throughout the show, the audience gets to see where her limit is and how much she can take. She has to be the star, the caretaker and all of their best friend so everybody expects a lot of things from her.

Actor Scott Aaronson plays Julie’s brother Tony Cavendish.

“I have a sword fighting scene that goes down a staircase,” Aaronson said. “It’s stage combat so it is all choreographed. That will be the first time I have ever done a fencing scene like that.”

Both Aaronson and Ashton said that the play is physically intense and chaotic but that when everything goes right the audience will enjoy themselves.

“Once it gets going and everybody knows their lines, it just creates this incredible synergy,” Ashton said. “It’s something bigger than all of us and then all of a sudden the actors themselves become a family.”

The play will run from Dec. 4 through Dec. 13. You can go to for tickets and more information.

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