IT'S BEEN A WHILE since the Seattle Rep has put its considerable resources behind a mainstage production and come up with something as valuable as its elaborate settings. Resonant, witty, and gorgeous to behold, Stephen Wadsworth's adaptation and staging of Marivaux's The Game of Love and Chance, the Rep's latest offering, is not only a complete delight but may well be one of the best things you'll see all year.

This 18th-century play opens on Thomas Lynch's exquisite scenic design (imposing mansion, lush courtyard), but is more vividly illustrated by the precision with which Wadsworth maneuvers its story. Silvia (Natacha Roi) is about to meet handsome Dorante (Willis Sparks) for a possible arranged marriage. Though Silvia's patient father Monsieur Orgon (a softly wry John Procaccino) promises to leave the decision to her, she insists he allow her to switch places with Lisette (Maggie Lacey), her chambermaid, so as to observe the young man undetected. Orgon and Mario (Jason Gingold), Silvia's mischievous brother, readily agree, neglecting to mention that they have word that an equally hesitant Dorante has opted to change identities for the day with his playfully lewd valet, Harlequin (Dan Donohue). The ensuing fracas is painfully hilarious because, in addition to flooding the antics with brazen detail, Wadsworth has constructed a groundswell of emotion rooted in a very honest sense of what it means to love and be loved without a mask. He pays respect to the piece's strict commedia lineage, but it really works best when it's slouching or casually sighing. The moment when a disguised Harlequin calls the covert Lisette "Madame," and both reflect sweetly on its connotations, is a hushed triumph after so much foolery.

Music, lighting, and costumes all contribute to the show's success, but the actors, of course, really bring it across. There isn't a bad one in the bunch, though special kudos go to Roi's desperate, wily Silvia and the ornate impudence of Donohue's rampaging Harlequin.

Bursting with "verbal bonbons" and a robust physicality, Wadsworth's production nevertheless has found an abiding tenderness in Marivaux's charades, making both love and chance seem as vital and rewarding as a hearty laugh.

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