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Released September 27, 2005


HATTIESBURG – 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 Night Live).

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, or call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425.



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October 14, 2005 2:06 PM