The Rude Mechanicals are out to prove that hot extramarital sex and farts are as hilarious has they were five centuries ago.
The renaissance and medieval theatre troupe of students and alumni are presenting four farces and two student plays this spring semester. The show is split into two programs: the first presentation opened on March 29th and will be performed on March 30th and April 1st. The second presentation will be performed on April 4th, 5th, and 6th.
The shows are free for Shepherd students.
This is the second time that the Rude Mechanicals will be performing plays written by students during last fall’s creative writing Drama workshop with Dr. Messenger. The Rudes chose two plays, Kathleen Stritch’s Definitions and Stephan Viau’s Eighteen and Green, primarily because they worked well with the Reynold’s theatre space.
Dr. Ellzey, English professor and director of the farces, said that this is a unique opportunity for student writers to see their work come to life.
“It’s really interesting for Katie and Stephan to see the end results” she said.
Kathleen Stritch’s Definitions is featured in Program One, and its dark and serious nature falls in contrast to the other more light-hearted plays. Definitions is about two teenagers who are in love in Mississippi during the 1950s and must fight against racism and prejudice.
The political work can feel uncomfortable for a modern audience but the actors are serious enough to give the story the strength it needs.
Viau’s Eighteen and Green follows more closely with the farces in its over-the-top story and its humor. The play is about a girl who falls in love with an alien and the wacky hi-jinks that ensue.
Both programs will feature farces, two for each program. Dr. Ellzey said she had met with Dr. Jody Enders, professor at the University of California Santa Barbara and translator of the farces, and chose her favorite farces from Enders’ publication.
“I chose several where women dominate the men and that happens a fair amount [in farces]. Things that don’t happen in life can happen in farces” she said.
The first program features The Farce of the Fart, a play about a lawsuit over a rogue fart, and Cooch E. Whippet, which portrays the heart-warming tale of how a husband gets coochie whipped. Both performances left this reporter’s cheeks sore from laughing so much. The second program will present Confession Lesson and Monk-ey Business. All four of the works boast bawdy humor and outrageous scenarios.
“I kept telling the actors that nothing is subtle; it’s all over the top” Ellzey said.
The Rude Mechanicals will perform the farces at the University of California Santa Barbara in May. The troupe is dedicated to bringing seldom-performed early drama to Shepherd University and surrounding area.
“It’s hard to appreciate Medieval and Greek drama just by reading it. It needs to be performed to appreciate the theatricality. And it’s mostly funny, great stuff on stage” she said.
For more information, contact Dr. Betty Ellzey.