The Light in the Piazza (South Coast Rep)

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Theatre and traveling are my two passions in life, so seeing The Light in the Piazza brought back some memories of my time spent in Florence, Italy. Walking the streets, admiring the architecture, and taking in the art and history of the birthplace of the Renaissance is an experience one should not miss. Who knows? You may even fall in love, like Clara.

While on vacation with her mother, Clara meets a young Italian, Fabrizio, and they instantly become smitten with each other and soon fall in love. Margaret, Clara’s mother, does not approve of the relationship due to her daughter’s lack of mental development (she was kicked in the head by a pony at the age of 12) and worries that Clara is not mature enough to handle a romantic relationship, but the truth is that protective Margaret is not ready to let her only child follow her heart and live a life on her own.

Playwright Craig Lucas and composer Adam Guettel did a wonderful job transforming Elizabeth Spencer’s novel The Light in the Piazza into a musical filled with classical and operatic elements. Although the dialogue is primarily in English, some is in Italian, which,  blended with expressive body language,  is easy to understand and brings an authentic spirit to the overall production.

The 1950s colorful costumes against the white minimal set design allow theatregoers to embrace the personalities of each character as the story unfolds and ends on a happy note as Clara not only finds love, but herself.