The 19th Century and The Count of Monte Cristo Fit Right In In Our Time
The play tells the story of Edmund Dantes, a trusting merchant sailor who is wrongfully thrown into prison through the scheming of those who coveted what he had. After 18 years in prison, he finally escapes, procures a fortune and sets about exacting his revenge on those who framed him. All in all, it is a rather depressing story in which so much pain and heartache could have been avoided if it were not for the selfish and greedy taking advantage of the innocent and trusting. Nothing seems to change in humanity as people still undercut one another for their own gain, though in The Count of Monte Cristo, it more often took the archaic form of social class differences and scandal. Well, perhaps not so archaic after all.
With the heavy subject matter, the audience was searching for comic relief and laughed at some strange moments, like people dying. But perhaps our culture is so used to graphic-aided death and gore on the screen, on stage it seems laughable. The one regular comic relief was quick “time-outs” taken by the cast at regular intervals to either make a funny or inform the audience of a pertinent piece of information through revealing their thoughts to us, a helpful device for those less familiar with the story. The standout performance was Noirtier, played by Robin Goodlin Nordli an OSF veteran of 21 years, who was the master of disguise and greatly added to the performance in humor and intrigue.
The Count of Monte Cristo
8 pm. Through October 11.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 15 S. Pioneer Street, Ashland.