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Laughter rules in BMS production "The Bachelor King"

Belmont Middle School will be presenting the comedy spoof “The Bachelor King” this Friday and Saturday evening, which mixes current reality shows into the script for an evening of laughter. Among the cast of characters are Cayla Brown, Nicole Rosas, Maddie Blajda, Louisa Bergman and Taylor Yelle, who vie for the attentions of Yokel (Nikolai Fernandez, in straw hat) when he takes rule of the kingdom after the death of King Evian (Asher Clark). (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
March 30, 2011
BELMONT — A bit of "reality t.v." is coming to the stage of Belmont Middle School when they present "The Bachelor King" this Friday and Saturday night, which co-director Claudia Leidinger said is a hilarious spoof on shows such as "The Bachelor" and "American Idol."

"Maybe even a little bit of 'Survivor,' too," she laughed.

"The Bachelor King" is a contemporary play by Oregon playwright and drama teacher Martin Follose, loaded with laughter that builds throughout the production as King Evian (Asher Clark) falls out a window and, realizing death is imminent, tosses his royal scepter to local hillbilly Yokel (Nikolai Fernandez) in his attempt to prevent his son, Prince Daft (Quinn McLoughlin), from inheriting the throne.

Yokel, however, is single, and the kingdom soon rallies to find him a wife. His new staff presents him with five eligible young women for him to select from in a televised presentation reminiscent of "The Bachelor."

Among Yokel's choices are Kanisha (Nicole Rosas), a tough gangster-type woman from New York; Jane Claxton ((Louisa Bergeron), a cowgirl from Texas; a ditzy cheerleader, Sally Valley (Taylor Yelle) from Los Angeles, Calif.; a proper Connecticut high-society matron named Agatha Peabody (Cayla Brown); and Priscilla Tradewell-Ayers-Hollander-Morley (Maddie Blajda), who is a gold digger, and has already been married four times.

The five women compete for the king's approval through "talent" (no talent actually required, however), and in a "Survivor"-style challenge. All of their efforts are under the scrutiny of a panel of judges named Simon Towel, Paula O'Toole and Maid Hazel.

"I'm the one you should marry, and all the others should get the boot," touts Priscilla after strutting the stage with her feather boa for the "talent" competition.

While Priscilla receives an "eight" from one judge who likes feathers, Kanisha frightens them with her bold rap, where she ends with the ominous words, "If you don't pick me you'll regret it," prompting judges to caution that threats would not bring her a high score. Texan Jane Claxton's feeble rendition of the classic cowboy tune, "Home on the Range," also fails to garner a lot of support and no one emerges from the talent round a clear winner.

Students involved in the performance said it has been hard work to remember their lines, but they have all enjoyed the zany comedy of "Bachelor King."

"We have a lot of new people this year, and it's been fun to work with everyone," said eighth grader Louisa Bergeron, who portrays Jane Claxton.

Participants all said they appreciate the humor of the script and the clever ways current pop culture plays a role in all that enfolds.

"There's a lot of funny parts, and I think everyone will really like this play," said Quinn McLaughlin, better known as Prince Daft in the performance.

Other current events drawn into the script, which only deepen Yokel's predicament, are skyrocketing gas prices, outsourced jobs to overseas companies and a tumbling stock market. Several hair-brained assassination plots by a jealous Prince Daft, along with Fred Pilfer, Yokel's self-appointed personal advisor, and his attempts to drain the treasury, all further the troubles of the hillbilly king before he eventually finds true love and saves the kingdom.

Throughout all of the trials and tribulations, there is a wealth of fun and laughter for the audience as Yokel and the rest of the characters work through their woes.

Fifth grade teacher Rebecca Morse is one of the co-directors of the play, and said when the staff sat down to decide on a production for this year, they kept coming back to "The Bachelor."

"There's a lot of really neat punch lines in this play that parents and grandparents will get and really enjoy. There's comedy for everyone in this production," she said.

Performances at BMS, she said, have progressed tremendously over the years with new technology, upgraded sound systems, and a lot of support from the school and community.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Alton School
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