Where would one find a runaway foreign princess who won’t consent to an arranged marriage because she knows her only duty is to her heart? Try looking at Aunt Lily’s Boarding House for Young Performers.
The Hilltop Players presented “The Handyman Bride,” written by Shirley McNichols and directed by senior Tyler Demoura, on March 31. Not only did this play have a happy ending, it had twists, turns and miscommunications.
Stan (Bobby Murphy) is a good-hearted struggling actor who may be too nice for his own good. He finds himself dragged into helping Princess Daella (Emma Fitzpatrick) stay hidden until her country’s king calls off their arranged marriage.
All does not go according to plan.
While the princess is disguised as a handyman named “Mike,” Hollywood starlet Nancy Hamilton (Colleen Jenkins) comes to the boarding house to shoot an upcoming big-budget movie. Hamilton is particularly good at getting what she wants – or what her cat, “Princess,” wants.
The irony comes into play when the royal family unexpectedly arrives at the boarding house with the police, who claim they got a tip from a neighbor that the missing princess was hiding in the house. This happens shortly before Fanny (Kyle Collins), an old housemaid, comes in the room and dramatically states that “Princess” snuck out the window and was probably hit by an oncoming car. The royal family, assuming Fanny is referring to Daella, run to the backyard offstage, giving Stan and “Mike” a chance to talk and share a hug – which is witnessed and revealed by the husband-to-be, King Hakkepp (Jesse Lawlor) of the fictional Kherridia.
Stan’s closeness with “Mike” makes his roommates and the rest of the characters assume they are romantically involved. Stan, unable to confirm or deny their suspicions for fear of revealing Daella’s secret, finds himself again stuck between his affections for reporter Darcy Baxter (Tiffany Santiago) and Princess Daella. Due to his odd behavior, he is also named the prime suspect in her kidnapping.
Her disappearance is complicated further by a ransom note sent to her family demanding $1 million for the safe return of the princess. While this causes the royal family to panic, it tips off Stan and Daella that they are being set up.
While everyone is frantically searching for the princess, Daella’s cousin Terhessa (Mikaela Green) is more fascinated with MTV and “Mike.” She is in love with American culture, and wants to stay to be on MTV and meet Jon Bon Jovi. She believes that seducing “Mike” is the one way for her to stay in the country. She could also stay in America if she obtains a lot of money – which she will if her ransom plan pays off.
In the end, all was revealed. Terhessa sent the note, Princess Daella’s distrusted bodyguard Borghoff (Anthony Gabrielle) loved her and the characters found out what the audience knew all along – Stan is the son of billionaire investor Alexander Newton (Joe Duda).
FSU President F. Javier Cevallos said, “I thought it was really fun and amazing to have 23 actors playing. … very well produced.”
Freshman Tim D. McDonnell said, “Absolutely hilarious. Cast killed it.”
Freshman Jeffrey Lussier said, “It was a great production.”
Freshman Andrew Bergeron said it was the “best play I have ever seen.”
[Editor’s Note: Bobby Murphy is a member of The Gatepost editorial board.]