UNLV Rebel Yell
UNLV's latest play is fun for all ages
Dec. 05, 2005

If you're looking for a break from your studies, you're in luck, because the carnival is in town. The Nevada Conservatory Theatre at UNLV presents it's first musical of the season, "Carnival!"

Set in a meadow in southern France, the play follows a na´ve and childlike woman, Lili, who joins up with the Cirque de Paris with dreams of being part of the carnival. She eventually finds her place as part of a puppet show.

Throughout the play, Lili is caught between two men competing for her affection. One of the men is Marco the Magnificent, a smooth-talking magician who is more interested in Lili's fame then her love. The other man is Paul Berthalet, a puppeteer who can only express his true feelings for Lili through his puppets.

This play would not be what it is without the performance of the four comical puppets. They included the upbeat redheaded boy named Carrot Top, a loveable walrus, a flirtatious fox and a vain older woman. With the help of Lili, they bring humor and fun to the play along with giving Paul's character a voice.

Accompanied by a wonderful orchestra, there is no doubt about the great ability of these cast members' voices. Alongside the singing, the choreography of the play is well planned and executed, including the times when large groups are involved.

The performance includes wonderful costumes and set designs, both bringing the audience into the world of the carnival. One very creative aspect of this production is how the set is designed. The stage starts out with nothing but an empty meadow. Then as the roustabouts all move onto the stage, a carnival magically appears right in front of the audience.

Most of the play is seen from the outside of the traditional carnival tent. Instead of seeing a carnival performance, the audience is brought into a behind - the - scenes view at what goes on in the lives of the carnival performers.

We are briefly brought inside the carnival tent for a scene involving audience participation (most likely staged audience members) where those chosen become part of the magic act. This, along with carnival vendors throwing candy into the audience, helps to create the atmosphere of a true carnival.

If possible, you should try to bring a child with you to see this play. The cast of "Carnival!" was lucky enough to have a preview audience (an audience who sees the performance before it officially opens) made up of over 100 children. This musical came to life through the eyes of the children. The magic became real and the puppets came alive. The puppets had the kids laughing hysterically for most of the play. The cast couldn't have asked for a better reaction to their performance then what they received from this audience.

Whether you see it on your own or through the eyes of a child, "Carnival!" is a feel good musical to enjoy this holiday season. "Carnival!" can be seen at the Judy Bayley theatre Dec. 2 through Dec. 11 with performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 8 p.m. and matinee performances both Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets are free for UNLV students. Just show your student ID at the Box Office located in front of the parking garage.

If you see the musical and still want more, be sure to join the actors and production staff Thursday, Dec. 8 after the 8 p.m. performance for a night of "Carnival!" discussion. This is your chance to get answers to all of your theatre questions.

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