I saw the musical The King and I at the Orange County Performing Arts Center on, Wednesday, December 3rd. The theater is located at 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. The play took place at the King’s palace in Siam. The time period was in the 1800’s. The story begins with the arrival of a British school teacher in Siam. Her job is to teach the sixty children of the king. She is very defiant towards the King, and this helps strengthen their relationship because they become friends. The main dilemma of the play is when the King receives news that Europeans perceive him as a barbarian. This news offends him and when the British counsel arrives he goes out of his way to make them think that he is civilized. With the help of the school teacher, Anna, he sets up a successful dinner and play. With this the counsel leaves with a good impression of him and his country. The other main dilemma of the play is when one of the King’s wives is caught after running away. The King tries to whip her, but Anna intervenes being very upset with the King’s choice of punishment. The play ends when the King dies and his eldest son inherits the kingdom. Anna succeeded in changing their culture.
The sound of the play was very good. Everything was very clear and easy to understand. Also the orchestra did a very good job of playing music that was associated with that time period and portion of the globe. The King, I though had a very good voice, although Anna (Hayley Mills) was not a very good singer. The set was not bad. The backgrounds were very simple and did not change very often. For the boat, a framework of bamboo was used. Also for the kingdom there was just a frame that went around the sides of the stage. I thought that the scenic artist could have been more elaborate. The two principles were Anna and the King of Siam. The protagonist Anna played by Hayley Mills did a great job acting, but a bad job at singing. She had a lot of energy and her showmanship made her seem very real. The other main actor who was a mild antagonist was the King of Siam, played by Vee Talmadge. He was a very good actor. He was funny, and played the role of a king very well. He also was a good singer, and had a lot of energy. He had many tag lines and portrayed a powerful, egocentric, King very well. The cast of the production portrayed the theme ” people’s cultural ideas should not be changed and deserve to be respected.” This theme was conveyed well and was fairly easy to pick out.
Even though there was a good number of tiny things that I didn’t like about the play, I did like the overall production. The actors did a very good job. The play was funny, but also made you think. The cast worked together well, and most of them were very talented. Although the production was way too long. It lasted about three hours and I would not recommended it on a school night. Over all the play was well organized, and I would recommend it to others on weekends.