Nothing says comedy like two pairs of scheming lovers and a man posing as a rich, widowed aunt from Brazil.
The McPherson College Theatre Department will present “Charley’s Aunt” on Oct. 13-14 in Mingenback Theatre at 7:30 p.m. as part of the college’s homecoming weekend activities.
“October marks 125 years since the play’s debut. It was a smashing hit and toured extensively throughout the U.S. It has been remade into two different film versions and a musical version as well,” said Jd. Bowman, associate professor of theater and director of the show. “It’s always good for students to study classics like this — it’s even good for the professors to study these works as well. These old scripts offer insights to the humor and performance styles of the day.”
“Charley’s Aunt,” a farce in three acts by Brandon Thomas, has been delighting audiences for centuries. Jack Chesney loves Kitty Verdun and Charley loves Amy Spettigue, but in order for the boys to get time with their loves, they need a chaperone. They arrange to meet the ladies while Charley’s aunt is visiting from Brazil, “where the nuts come from.” But when Charley’s aunt cancels at the last minute, the boys hatch a quick plan for another chaperone to step in, in disguise, so they can woo their ladies.
Bowman explained that historical productions offer students a first-hand understanding of what a show’s first performers would have felt and looked like.
“For the actors, this time period presents a lot of learning opportunities. The women are working with corsets, the men are working with hats. The cast is learning about social etiquette of the time period. It’s been neat to share this part of history with our students,” Bowman said. “This is also the first show in a while where the students get to see a master designer at work with costumes. Dr. Rick Tyler (professor of speech and theater at the college) personally designed and built the patterns for many of the 20 costumes seen in the show. It’s not every day that students get to work with custom men’s suits and gorgeous evening gowns for women.”
The performance also marks the 40th anniversary of First Nighters, the college’s season ticket holder program.
An opening night reception for First Nighters members will be held at 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 13 in Mingenback Theatre to celebrate the rich history of McPherson College theater.
“This show is a staple for any theatre company. I’m glad we get to offer it as part of our year celebrating 40 years of First Nighters,” Bowman said.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3.50 for seniors and students. Reservations may be made by contacting the theatre box office at 620-242-0444 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder by email at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @MacSentinel.