Paul Russell

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THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL - Barter Theatre: Paul Russell, director



"A first-rate production that's well-worth seeing. 
I laughed, I cried, I dived under the seat."


"The Scarlet Pimpernel is another Barter triumph, sure to please audiences of every age and taste... and Barter’s talented cast has brought this extraordinary tale to life under the able direction of Paul Russell"


Gary Aday
Washington County News



“Come, let's believe... But the end of the story doesn't come so sweetly”

Marguerite - "Storybook"


Director's notes...



18th Century paintings. The first thought that came to mind when approached by the Barter to direct The Scarlet Pimpernel. I hadn't knowledge of canvass artisans of the era. But the phrase "18th century paintings" haunted me as I ventured my journey into Pimpernel.

That journey led me to the works of Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732 - early 1800's) and his bitter-sweet romantic oils on canvass. I knew I found the design and overall feel of Pimpernel when I came across Fragonard's, Renaud dans les jardins d'Armide (Renaud in the gardens of Armide (pictured left; recreated as the Act Scrim). The work refers to the unhappy love of the female magician Armide for the knight Renaud.


I discovered, on canvass, a parallel to the relationship of Marguerite and Percy (the Scarlet Pimpernel). Not only did the theme strike me as appropriate for our tale at Barter but the colors, tones and soft shades that masked strife would fulfill the richness the story required. The main act curtain (a scrim) was an expansive reproduction of Fragonard’s Renaud dans les jardins d'Armide, often utilized, and at one point was the backdrop for the wedding of Marguerite and Percy. As the wedding ceremony continued, the area behind the scrim was lit and the wedding party became visible; the intamcy of the couple was shadowed then joined by the wedding party as the Fragonard flew out.


Scenic designer Richard Finklestein expanded on the 18th century painting theme; most notably reflecting Fraganoard throughout the entire design of Pimpernel. With the skillful aide of the Barter scenic artists; a dazzling three dimensional appearing set, rich in depth, was, like the story, deceptive reality. For it was astonishing that what was painted onto a one dimensional surface visually tricked the eye into believing what was seen was three dimensional.


Production stills...






Barter Theatre:


Sound Design: Bobby Beck; Lighting Design: Cheri Devol; Wig / Hair Design: Heather Fleming; Costumes, Amanda Aldridge, Set Design: Richard Finklestein; Projections; Paul Russell,; Fight Director: Bob Walsh; Vocal Coach: Ben Smith; Stage Manager: John Hall; Assistant Director:: Karen Sabo, Musical Director: Jim Hollingsworth; Choreographer: Amanda Aldridge; Director: Paul Russell; Producing Artistic Director: Richard Rose


Marguerite; Melissa Owens; Percy Blakeney: Michael Ostroski; Chauvelin: John Hedges; Marie: Amy Baldwin; Armand: Martin Thompson; Ozzy: Eric Pope; Dewhurst: Derek Davidson; Elton: Ben Mackel; Farleigh: Frank Green; Ben; James LaRosa; Prince of Wales: Benjamin Smith; Robespierre: Michael Poisson; Mercier: Scot Atkinson; Coupeau: Rick McVey; Jessup: Ben Greenstone

Company: Karen Sabo, Mary Lucy Bivens, Elizabeth McKnight, Alitia Crismond & Janee Reeves



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