Reviewed by Judy Richter
As adapted and directed by Lillian Groag, Pierre Marivaux's "The Triumph of Love" was a triumph in its recent outdoor production at California Shakespeare Theater. Now that the production has moved to co-producer San Jose Repertory Theatre's indoor venuer, it seems even better. The smaller space with more consistent acoustics (no coyotes in the hills or jets overhead) gives it greater intimacy and allows the actors to be more subtle with no loss of clarity. Furthermore, the actors have had a chance to hone their performances during the Cal Shakes run and subsequent rehearsals in San Jose.
Stacy Ross is even more impressive than she was at Cal Shakes, surpassing what was a near tour de force in her role as the quick-witted Princess Leonide of Sparta, who disguises herself as a man, Phocion, to win the heart of Agis (Jud Williford). The rightful prince of Sparta, Agis has been hidden at the home of unmarried siblings Hermocrates (Dan Hiatt) and Leontine (Domenique Lozano). Leonide is accompanied by her lady-in-waiting, Corine (Catherine Castellanos), also disguised as a man. Completing the cast are commedia dell arte character Arlecchino (Danny Scheie) and the siblings' gardener, Dimas (Ron Campbell). All surpass their fine Cal Shakes performances. Even Scheie and Campbell have toned down their antics, though not always enough
The topnotch designs are the same: set by Kate Edmunds, gorgeous costumes by Raquel Barreto, lighting by Russell H. Champa and sound by Jeff Mockus.
Timothy Near, San Jose Rep artistic director, and Jonathan Moscone, her counterpart at Cal Shakes, have found their collaboration so rewarding that are planning to continue it. Not only does such collaboration save both companies precious money in staging the classics, but it gives their respective audiences a chance to see the outstanding work each theater is doing. "The Triumph of Love" is a great way to start.