In THE GOLDEN COACH, a comedy, author and director Yaga Brady takes the audience back to 1770 in Lima, Peru. We meet the Spanish Viceroy, Manuel de Amat y Junient (Carl Heyde), and the woman who drives him to distraction, Micaela Villegas (Carol Enoch).
Known as la Perricholi, a derisive term that Micaela embraces, she is a dauntless, indomitable actor with a serious social climbing agenda. Her home is a parade ground of paramours vying to bask in her beauty, and a breeding ground for rumors which ultimately provide fodder for slander. Ever eager for more of Perricholi, especially in her absence, the Viceroy seeks to know what the public says of his ‘friendship’ with her, but when he insists that Martinez (Joe Herman), his personal secretary, tell him what has been heard around town, his highness is highly displeased. Meanwhile, as the Viceroy jealously stews over said gossip, Perricholi is planning on getting from him, as a gift, his magnificent new golden coach to ride in to an upcoming event where Archbishop of Lima (Bob Forman) and other prominent people will be in attendance. In particular she wants to outshine the society women and finally best her nemesis, a local marquessa, by upstaging her. By twists and turns, the coach becomes much more than a means of transportation.
Period pieces can be tricky to pull off. There is much verbiage owing to the necessary language of deference due when subordinate characters are addressing their “betters”. But this cast is wonderfully expressive, bringing the audience into the cadence of the story, keeping them there, and making them laugh!
THE GOLDEN COACH is based on Prosper Merimee’s 1829 one act play Le Carrosse de Saint-Sacrement, which Yaga Brady translated from the French. The Viceroy Manuel de Amat and Micaela Villegas, or Perricholi, are based on two social norm breakers by those very names who had an infamous eighteenth century romantic liaison. History just loves to keep a good scandal going, and THE GOLDEN COACH, besides some of the antiquated argot and old time mannerisms, is still worthy tabloid material.
The well balanced, tastefully attired set (Scott Killenger, set design, and Yaga Brady, interior décor design) is well lighted (Gilbert Todd), and cleverly converts for scene changes. Sound (Steve Brady) and music meld well with the action on stage; present but never upstaging the actors. Costumes (Jen Allegra, Janet Gillmore, Joan Blake, Susan Mooers and Jane Toczek) are outstanding, period and perfectly suited to the production, as were the carefully coiffed wigs worn by the Viceroy, Martinez and the Monsignor d`Esquivel (Steve Sussman).[The Stagecrafters Theater, 8130 Germantown Ave.]; April 10-26, 2015; thestagecrafters.org.