A Man for All Seasons On Stage at 2nd Space

Aug 24, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Terrance V. Mc Arthur, Theatre

by Terrance Mc Arthur

Take a time machine to the time of King Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More. It is cleverly disguised as the Good Company Players’ 2nd Space Theatre production of Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons. The time machine is only available through October 16.

Sir Thomas More (1478-1535—the man whose writings put the word “Utopia” into our language) a loyal friend of the King, became Chancellor of England, but was against the Protestant Reformation, and would not give approval to Henry’s desire to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and marry Anne Boleyn. For his refusal to compromise his principles, he lost his power and his life. The historical More might not be as admirable to modern standards; he zealously persecuted those he considered heretics, and some accounts claim he was responsible for executions, some by burning at the stake.

Cast of Good Company Players production of “A Man For All Seasons”

As More, Mark Standriff is a powerful titan, striding across the stage, eloquent in stating his convictions, finally giving vent in an outburst of anger, an outburst that passes as his dignity reasserts himself, a dignity that does not falter in the face of the executioner. Standriff follows in the footsteps of Paul Scofield and Charlton Heston, actors who also starred in productions of the play.

King Henry (Charis) and Thomas More (Mark Standriff ) in GCP’s production of ” A Man For All Seasons”

The singularly-named Charis draws double duty as a vigorous King Henry and as Chapuys, the Spanish ambassador who represents the interests of the Pope. His Henry feels betrayed by his friend, thwarted in his pursuit of Boleyn. The ambassador is sly and tempting, a snake in the Garden of London.

The indomitable Chris Carsten portrays Thomas Cromwell, More’s opponent. Carsten blasts and bellows, wheedles and cajoles, simultaneously showing contempt and jealousy. As the Duke of Norfolk, Mark McKeon is often exasperated by More’s unwillingness to bend with the winds of political storms, considering it stubbornness instead of conscience and integrity.

Thomas More (Mark Standriff) and Richard Rich (Joseph Ham) in GCP’s production of “A Man For All Seasons”

Joseph Ham as Richard Rich begins as an earnest young man seeking a patron in the upright More, but gradually displays the desire for power that leads him into Cromwell’s circle and treachery as he betrays More.

Against all these Royals and Nobles, Bolt Places one Common Man (Marc Gonzalez) who portrays servants, a boatman, a juror, and an executioner, as well as being the narrator, in effect representing those of the audience, filling in historical points, like a Wikipedia entry on legs. Gonzales is friendly and bemused, by turns, moving furniture, setting scenes, and appearing at many entrances.

A concerned Erica Riggs as More’s wife and a fresh and bubbly Kylee Leyva as his daughter fill out the household, while Renee Newlove has a turn as an angry woman who did not get the judgment from More that she wanted. Noel Adams, Daniel Dougherty, Ethan Magill, and Martin Martinez round out the cast.

A Man For All Seasons is on stage through October 16. The 2nd Space Theatre is at 928 E. Olive Ave, in Fresno. For tickets and further information, contact www.gcplayers.com, or call (559) 266-9494.

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. You can also find more theatre coming up on KRL’s Local Theatre event page.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur worked for the Fresno County Public Library for three decades. He is retired, but not retiring. A storyteller, puppeteer, writer, actor, magician, basketmaker, and all-around interesting person, his goal is to make life more unusual for everyone he meets.

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