Spamalot draws a crowd from community audience

Music and humor were found on campus at the South Dakota State Theatre program presentation of Monty Python’s Spamalot on Oct. 15 through Oct. 18.

The play was a rendition of the movie Monty Python. The musical focused on the adventures of King Arthur and knights that accompanied him on a journey to find the Holy Grail and encounter various obstacles on the adventure.

The audience had a mix of students and community members. Jamie Hof, a Brookings community member, decided to come to Spamalot because she worked with a Spamalot cast member.

“I like that it was something different,” Hof said. 

She also enjoyed that the play subtly included mature banter throughout the musical.

The musical incorporated different types of music. Pete Leiferman, a Brookings community member, regularly attends SDSU’s theatre productions.

“I liked…the “Broadway” production,” Leiferman said. The Broadway production features Dustin Kleba as Robin. He describes what King Arthur [Tyus Beeson] needs in order to be successful on Broadway.

The multiple actors in the musical played a variety of characters said JD Ackman, professor and director of theatre.

“The actor who played Sir Lancelot [Steven Marienau] was also the French taunter, and he was also the Knight of Nee, and he was also Tim the Enchanter,” Ackman said.

Due to multiple students playing more than one character with a variety of costumes and costume changes, it required coordination between the actors, actress, the director and everyone else impacted by the scene change.

“As director, I work with the actor to delineate one character from the next and this particular piece so that one actor plays multiple roles,” Ackman said. “My favorite part is seeing them [the students] develop their characters.”

Ackman said that Caleb Woodring had to go from being Prince Herbert in one scene to change his costume and appear in the very next scene as Patsy, King Arthur’s servant.

Jayden Gapp, a senior human development and family studies major attended the musical. She liked how she was able to see her peers “do what they do best” and the student involvement. 

“He [Caleb Woodring as Patsy] was really funny,” Gapp said.

“For every person you saw on stage there were probably two or three people that built those costumes, built the scenery, working wardrobe backstage, working spotlights,” Ackman said.

In addition to the actors that were on stage, there were students that helped to make Spamalot an experience. As actors performed, there were a castle and trees on stage throughout the show. Ackman said the props that were incorporated throughout the musical were handmade.

“We’re interested in providing experiencing for the breadth of knowledge,” Ackman said. “We really welcome participation from any student, from any major, from any college.”

The theatre program’s next production is “Chameleon Love,” an original script by SDSU professor W. James Wood. “Chameleon Love” will run Nov. 18 to Nov. 22, a matinee on Nov. 23 and another showing on Nov. 24. All SDSU theatre productions are free admission for students.