The Column Online



by Pierre Mariveaux

MBS Productions

Directed by Charles Ballinger
Assistant Directed and Stage Managed by Carissa Wilson
Set and Properties design by Alejandro de la Costa
Costume, Lighting and Sound design by Mark-Brian Sonna
Box Office Management by Kim Wickware


Silvia - Kristene Littlefield
Lisette - Shanna Gobin
Monsieur Orgon - Mark-Brian Sonna
Mario - Jake Shanahan
Dorante - Blake Owen
Arlequin - Jon Christie

Reviewed Performance: 2/9/2012

Reviewed by Richard Blake, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

MBS Productions does it again with a marvelous translation and presentation of this French comedy that keeps you laughing, intrigued and paying attention to a myriad of role reversals that is a wonderful work of Performance Art!

In The Game of Love and Chance, Sylvia is a single young woman still living at home. Her father thinks it's time she considers finding a suitable man to marry. He talks her into meeting Dorante, a possible suitor. Despondent that her father is trying to impose his taste of men on her, she switches places with the house maid Lisette in order to more objectively assess Dorante's character. Unbeknownst to her, Dorante has also traded places with his butler so as to get a better assessment of Sylvia.

What follows is a comedy of mixed up identities, and employees taking advantage of their employers.

Mr. Sonna's translation and adaptation of this French comedy is perfect. A 1700s period play is a challenge to produce let alone translate, but Mr. Sonna's decision to set it in Louisiana in the 1920s-1930s era is an excellent choice.

The translation never feels out-of-place in the period, and the adaptation works wonderfully. It is also perfect he keeps the play as three acts with two intermissions. Keeping the audience involved and talking about each act during the breaks works perfectly within the flow of the story. Congratulations on an excellent job well done, Mr. Sonna.

Direction by Charles Ballinger is executed very well. The Stone Cottage Theatre is a perfect setting for this intimate production and his use of this unique space is wonderful. The actors use the space with ease and Mr. Ballinger's stage pictures keep you involved in the story from beginning to end. The comedic elements flow seamlessly from scene to scene and presentations of the plot line(s) intertwine flawlessly.

Costume, lighting and sound design by Mark-Brian Sonna are very well done. The lighting and sound are simple, yet enhance the production's needs. The costumes adhere to the period very well and accent all the characters brilliantly. Mr. Sonna wears a lot of hats in this production and at no time do any of them fail in design and authenticity.

Alejandro de la Costa's set and props are very authentic. Actually, they are real antiques and pieces of art. All the choices were done perfectly from small side tables to the beautiful statues and crystal glasses on them.

The ensemble cast is confident, creative and comfortable with each other in telling the story with ease. Each actor respects the other and builds their character off of one another. This is a well-oiled cast that makes this production a great success.

Kristene Littlefield, as Silvia, creates her character brilliantly, you'd think she has been performing the role for years. Her interplay with the audience and other actors is direct, concise and, when needed, quite comedic. Ms. Littlefield definitely shines in the role.

Lisette is played by Shanna Gobin and is a pleasure to watch onstage. Her comedic timing, choice of characterization and presentation is perfect! When Ms. Gobin is on stage you hang on her every word and movement within the story that takes you on a wonderful journey.

Mark-Brian Sonna's portrayal of Monsieur Orgon is spot on funny. He takes this wonderfully delicious character and displays him all over the stage. The accent is perfect, and within minutes you believe him to be the real Monsieur! Mr. Sonna's comedy is timed perfectly for his character when appropriate, along with his character's genuine concern for his daughter's true happiness. Mr. Sonna's experience as a performer definitely shines through in this role.

As the Monsieur's son Mario, Jake Shanahan is cast perfectly. His mannerisms, movement, accent and presentation of the character are splendid to watch. Mr. Shanahan's timing is done well and keeps his character intertwined and involved in the plot line(s). Keep your eye on his facial expressions during the show; they are wonderfully funny even when he isn't the focus of the scene.

Blake Owen as Dorante works the stage as the professional he is. His character choices are perfect, his comedic timing is right on and his interpretation of the written words is remarkable. Mr. Owen is perfectly cast in this role and keeps you in the palm of his hand throughout the performance. Every moment he is on stage is a true pleasure to watch.

Jon Christie plays Arlequin and provides a masterful presentation of his character! Comedically he is perfect. With amazing facial expressions and body language, you are drawn to him throughout the entire performance. He is never over-the-top and never boring. There is something so magical about this young man's on stage talent, you just don't want to look away. It is truly exciting to view this master-in-training at work.

MBS Productions presentation of The Game of Love and Chance is another spectacular premiere of exceptional Art and DFW talent you don't want to miss!!

MBS Productions
Performed at the Stone Cottage Theatre
(Part of the Addison Conference and Theatre Center)
15650 Addison Road, Addison, TX, 75001

Runs through February 18th

Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm
Special Valentine?s Day performance Tuesday, February 14 at 8:00pm.
All patrons receive chocolates and a rose with ticket purchase.

Ticket prices range from $18-$26 with 2 for 1 ticket specials for KERA Members.
Purchase tickets online at:
Or by calling the box office at 214-477-4942.