Posted January 31, 2013 by Cooper Point Journal in Arts & Entertainment

Riot to Follow’s Pygmalion Nails Distinct Dialect

This past week Evergreen continued in its tradition of melding the arts with academics pursuits with the latest production from the Riot to Follow student group. Jane Adams, a literature and linguistics student, put on a production of Pygmalion, a play by George Bernard Shaw lauded for its literary quality that centers around the challenge of improving one’s dialect. Caleb Hepker and Cheyenne Logan starred as Professor Henry Higgins, a linguistics master, and Eliza Doolittle, the object of the challenge.

Higgins, with his colleague Colonel Pickering, played by a balding Sam Bennett, took on the challenge of teaching cockney-accented Eliza to speak and act ike a lady. The play deals with the complicated teacher-student relationship that develops between Miss Doolittle and the occasionally belligerent Professor Higgins, along with class issues in English culture.

The greatest achievement of the production was the superb dialect work across the entire cast. “Everyone stayed in dialect during rehearsal,” said Sam Bennett when reflecting on the highlights of working on the play.

“Jane had us learn the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA),” said Mr. Hepker. “That’s how she taught us the dialects, by writing out the lines, which was funny since my character (Professor Higgins) is a Phonetician.”

Every cast member was on point throughout the play with their dialects, most notably Logan who had to modify her dialect throughout the play as Eliza’s dialect improved from that of a commoner to one that could pass off as so expert that it couldn’t possibly be natural.

“Being able to teach everyone how to speak in dialect was amazing,” said Jane Adams. “I’m a lit. and linguistics combined focus person… so it was really cool for me.”

Other performances that earned praise from audience members came from Gabriel Smith, Audrey Hommeyer and Katie Shaughnessy, who together played the aristocratic Eynsford-Hill family.

 By David Lukashok