Actor Matt Forrest, who portrays Lancelot in the upcoming production of “Spamalot,” gazes out from a castle window at Olympic Theatre Arts on May 15. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Actor Matt Forrest, who portrays Lancelot in the upcoming production of “Spamalot,” gazes out from a castle window at Olympic Theatre Arts on May 15. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Olympic Theatre Arts to stage musical ‘Spamalot'

Production adapted from iconic ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’

SEQUIM — Olympic Theatre Arts will present “Spamalot,” a musical comedy adapted from the classic British film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” for a three-week run from Friday through June 16.

“It’s been nothing but a positive laugh-fest from the very first day,” Director David Herbelin said.

The absurd satire of the Arthurian legend is set in medieval Britain, where a less-than-bright King Arthur embarks on a quest to assemble a band of knights, traveling the countryside with his loyal squire Patsy, who creates the sound of horse hooves with coconut shells.

Performances on Fridays and Saturdays are at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. at the OTA main stage, 414 N. Sequim Ave. Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for students, and are available at the box office (call 360-683-7326 between 1-4 p.m., Tuesday-Friday) or go online at olympictheatrearts.org.

Comedy and song

The play is filled with outrageous and extended comedic bits, many lifted directly from the film. Assistant director Steven Rodeman, a Monty Python enthusiast, looks to ensure the production stays true to the iconic comedy style.

“I’ve been a Monty Python fan forever,” Rodeman said. “Everyone is working collaboratively in a great environment, and little bits are just coming out spontaneously.”

In addition to some crude humor, “Spamalot” offers meta-commentary on musical theater itself, referencing famous musicals in its instrumentals.

The musical number, “The Song That Goes Like This,” as described by musical director Morgan Batholick-LeMaire, humorously mimics the dramatic power ballads of the 1980s and early ’90s, featuring multiple key changes that keep escalating.

Batholick-LeMaire didn’t have the show on his musical to-do list but said it has turned out to be a delight.

“It’s Monty Python; how could you not have a great time doing it?” Batholick-LeMaire said. “We have some really talented people in this cast, and some who have never done a musical before. It’s been especially fun to see how singing has empowered them and helped them come out of their shells.”

Dance, set design

Choreographer Nikki Mischke has plotted extensive dance numbers throughout the show.

“It’s a bunch of musical numbers stuck together with Monty Python sketches,” Herbelin said.

“Some numbers were initially planned to be simple, but Nikki’s expertise was needed more than expected.”

The production showcases new lighting effects, including underwater and dappled forest effects. The backstage crew will work to manage quick scene changes, aiming to set up an entire castle within 90 seconds.

Character dynamics

Actor Ron Graham, playing a notably dim character, said he enjoys the creative process.

“Characterizations are always fun to embody,” he said. “I’ve got some very good directors who have helped me understand a different approach.”

Graham said he particularly enjoys his dynamic with Mario Arruda, who plays Patsy.

“We’re just having a blast playing off each other,” Graham said. “It’s a very symbiotic relationship, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Matt Forrest, who portrays Lancelot, revels in the play’s hectic and wild nature.

“We’re turning up the volume to 11 — it is very wild and goofy,” he said.

His favorite number, “His Name Is Lancelot,” allows him to dance and perform high-energy body acting without singing.

Such a large cast with so many teams working behind the scenes has meant a lot of collaboration, something that the show’s choreographer has enjoyed.

“It’s been great, honestly,” Mischke said.

“Even though everyone has their own niche department, we’re all working as one team, and it really is working well.”

________

Elijah Sussman is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of newspapers Peninsula News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at elijah.sussman@sequimgazette.com.

The ensemble cast of “Spamalot” warm up their voices under the guidance of music director Morgan Bartholick-LeMaire at Olympic Theatre Arts on May 15. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

The ensemble cast of “Spamalot” warm up their voices under the guidance of music director Morgan Bartholick-LeMaire at Olympic Theatre Arts on May 15. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

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