Although delayed by Hurricane Katrina, The University of Southern
Mississippi Department of Theatre and Dance will present its first
main stage production Oct. 13-23 in the Martha R. Tatum Theatre.
Scapin, a fast-paced, hilarious comedy in the
tradition of the Vaudeville stage, comes courtesy of Bill Irwin
(Emmy winner and a.k.a. Mr. Noodle) and Mark O’Donnel (Saturday
The pair has updated Moliere’s famous
Les Fourberies de Scapin ("Deceits of Scapin") for a sidesplitting
evening of family fun.
Director Scot J. Mann, assistant professor
of theatre, said the timing of the production is perfect for a good
laugh. “After worrying for weeks about trees on the roof,
the elusive insurance adjustor, the busy signal at FEMA, and whether
the kids will eat a #12 MRE, it has been a joy to rehearse a comedy
with such a talented group of performers,” Mann said.
“I hope the community will join us, put
aside some of its worries for a couple of hours and enjoy a laugh
with the family.”
The action is driven by the manic escapades
of Scapin as he engages in one ingenious scam after another. He
separates two fathers from their money in order to unite their sons
with their loves.
Like a mischievous child, his deceptions go
a bit too far. He is forced to reach new heights of foolery in order
to save himself.
The action is punctuated by the musical musings
of “George,” played by Lee Crouse, second-year graduate
student from Magnolia, Ark. His keyboard features ingenious levers
and gadgets that trigger amazing surprises throughout the show.
The Southern Miss performers have developed
various circus-style stunts that include rope swings, flips, and
standing on shoulders. As the story wraps up, the entire cast cuts
to the chase . . . literally!
“This is a wild ride for us,” says
Brad Oxnam, third-year graduate student of Greenwood. “Physical
comedy is very demanding but very rewarding when the laughs rise
up from the audience.”
Oxnam escaped the storm here in Hattiesburg
but is happy to get back to the routine of rehearsal. “Most
folks wouldn’t consider being at school from 9 a.m. to 11
p.m. normal, but for us, it’s great to get back to the routine
of classes in the day and rehearsing a great show together at night
to offer something fun to the community.”
The department will submit its production of
Scapin in competition at the Mississippi American College Theatre
Festival in November, hosted by the Mississippi College for Women.
Scapin will be presented at the Martha R. Tatum
Theatre Oct. 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22 at 7:30 p.m., and Oct. 16 and
23 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for USM faculty and
staff, senior citizens and military, and $6 for students. Order
tickets online at www.usm.edu/tickets, or call the Southern Miss
Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425.