“Anton in Show Business” brings laughter and a message to the stage


Matthew Tamez/ISLAND WAVES – Anton in Show Business” ended with a final dance sequence set to the tune of “Cotton-Eye Joe.”

On Oct 25 and 26 TAMU-CC’s Department of Theatre and Dance brought some laughter to the stage with their production of “Anton in Show Business” by Jane Martin. The play was directed by Meredith Melville and starred Raya Wright as Casey, Raeann Grigsby as Lisabette and Lauren Valdez as Holly.

The story follows Casey, Lisabette and Holly as they attempt to perform a production of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” in Texas. But with a revolving door of directors, a troubled production and behind the scenes romance, these three actresses find themselves searching for a deeper purpose as they try to get a handle on the joys and sorrows that come with being an actress in show business.

“Anton in Showbusiness” is a wonderfully hilarious yet heartfelt play that captures the writer’s interpretation of show business. The playwright perfectly conveyed their message in the writing of the play. With a house packed to the brim with audience members, the actresses made audiences laugh with the farcical nature of the play while also, at times, satirizing their own satire by posing the question, is the play too self-referential? I would have to say no, no it is not.

The production is notable for having an all-female cast, playing every role including the males in the story. When it comes to pure comedy, Lisabette is one of the most hilarious roles in the story with Grigsby playing her perfectly. She is a wonderfully prudish individual who flips the bird and then runs off crying and crossing herself within the span of a few seconds. Valdez’s Holly is an already established television actress who flaunts her sex appeal and stardom when she can. Her character is a selfish yet sympathetic individual who nonetheless forms a bond with the other two girls. Valdez manages to capture the self-absorbed air headedness of her character in both scenes that have a focus on her and in scenes where she’s just standing there, continuing to check herself to make sure she looks the best she can. The last but certainly not the least is Wright’s Casey. Casey is the middle ground between the prudish Lisabette and the confident Valdez. Wright plays a character who is serious when she needs to be and could ultimately be seen as the heart of the group, struggling with her own issues in life as she attempts to make it in show business.

“Anton in Show Business” opened that Friday night to a crowd that laughed out loud as the cast and crew put their best, and most amazing, effort into the production. The season will continue with William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” from Nov. 12-17.