East to present ‘Canterville Ghost’ next month

Witty comedy described as a delightful escape

East theater students rehearse for “The Canterville Ghost,” which will be performed on Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. (EMILY LIU/The Sun)

Get ready for a paranormal comedy: “Canterville Ghost” is coming to Cherry Hill East.

Based on a short story by Oscar Wilde, the show follows an American family moving to a house haunted by 300-year-old English ghosts of nobility who aren’t pleased with their new housemates. 

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“It’s fun; it’s a delightful escape,” said Peter Gambino, East’s play director. “It’s like 90 minutes of a good time. It’s not too spooky for anybody, it’s not too edgy, or too anything.

“It’s just sort of a fun show that presents sort of really cool acting challenges for (the students).”

The ghosts speak with an accent, something the East students are practicing diligently.

“Not only do you need to learn your lines, but you need to learn how to say it in a dialect or an accent that might not be your own, and consistently, in a believable way,” Gambino added.

As in the past, the play will feature red and white casts, with some members being double cast. Senior Anthony Torrissi of the red cast will play Mr. Horace Otis, a “caricature of your average upstanding American citizen” who moves into the Canterville Manor, and Sir Simon de Canterville, a grumpy ghost who haunts the Canterville Manor, in the white cast. Edward Garcia will play Horace Otis in the white cast and Sir Simon de Canterville in the red. 

“Horace was kind of easy because he’s your typical American dad,” said Torrissi. “ … But for Sir Simon, I have to come up with different things for him, for example, the voice.”

Gambino noted that the students playing British ghosts have also had to work on their accents. Torrissi explained that he took inspiration from different villains, like Scar from “The Lion King”  and Anton from “Ratatouille,” as he tried to create the voice for Sir Simon de Canterville.

“He is extremely grumpy; he does not want these Americans moving in at all, and he will try to scare them out as much as they can,” Torrissi said.

“When you read it, you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, this is funny,’ but on stage, it comes to life,” added senior Carlotta Vingelli, the assistant stage manager. “There’s so much hidden comedy in there, which makes it a really interesting play to read and also to watch.”

The play will be performed on Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. at East. Tickets are $12 and will be sold both online and at the door.

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