Comedy Survives Fumbles

By Sarita Chandanani

On Saturday night the “London Cuckolds” came to life in the
theater department in efforts to raise funds for the Southern
California Shakespeare Festival.

With professional actor, associate professor of theater arts,
and founder of the SCSF at Cal Poly Pomona, Linda Bisesti, the
theater department had no problem getting students, parents and
faculty to attend the hilarious comedy.

“‘The London Cuckolds’ was first adapted in the late 1700s by
the Royal Shakespeare Company in England and is a restoration play
about lust, love, power, affairs and mistaken identity,” said

The fundraiser was conducted as a staged reading where the
student performers have their scripts in front of them. Many of the
students gave up their entire day to rehearse their scripts and
perform at night.

Many audience members seemed unaware of the scripts and even
found it funny when a few small fumbles were made.

The small imperfections made no real impact on the performance
and made the play that much funnier to watch.

The acting was great despite the actors’ small amount of
preparation, which demonstrates the talent sheltered within Cal
Poly’s theater department.

Associate professor of theater arts at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,
Josh Machamer, directed this fundraiser as well as the upcoming
eight performances of The Merry Wives of Windsor scheduled to debut
as part of the SCSF in September.

“His directing is brilliant,” said Bisesti and student actor
Scott Chappell, senior in English education.

This is Josh Machamer’s first year back since his departure from
Cal Poly Pomona’s Theater Department six years ago and the students
could not be happier to work under such a dedicated and inspired

With the SCSF going on its third year in existence here at Cal
Poly Pomona, many students are excited to see the outcome of the

Bisesti’s vision to create a place where students have the
opportunity to work with professional actors is finally coming true
with the help of ASI and Alpha Psi Omega, dramatic fraternity, as
producers of the festival.

“Many actors do not have the proper experience when they first
begin acting and that is why it is so important that students are
given the opportunity to learn from professional actors while still
in school,” said Bisesti.

Students involved in the festival have total involvement not
only in the acting but also in the design and production of the
play. Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Stanislaus are the only two
campuses in Southern California to host the SCSF.

Students are given the opportunity to audition to be part of the
performance. Actors within the greater Los Angeles area volunteer
their time to be part of the festival and indulge in the

“We hope to be part of the festival and can’t wait to audition,”
said Nicole Herman, Alyssa Pantoja and Tracy Miller, first-year
theater students, who performed in the fundraiser.

Their eyes were full of enthusiasm and delight as they prepared
for the staged reading.

It seems as though the size of the theater department does not
qualify its success. With the festival right around the corner, the
students and faculty are anticipating a success.

The Merry Wives of Windsor is the first comedy performed by the
SCSF at Cal Poly Pomona and Saturday’s fundraiser was a great
prelude to the comic relief of the upcoming production.

The buzz is that this year’s SCSF is going to be a modern
adaptation that will reach the campus audience and many students
are looking forward to its unraveling.

Sarita Chandanani can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (909) 869-3744.

Comedy Survives Fumbles

Comedy Survives Fumbles

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