'A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum'
Arts Theatre, UNE – May/June 2003
Stage Direction by Mike Gibson
Musical Direction by Bruce Menzies
Produced by Margaret Kennedy
Book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Originally produced on Broadway by Harold S. Prince. By arrangement with Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd exclusive agent for Music Theatre International, New York.
The time is two hundred years before the Christian era, a day in spring.
The place is a street in Rome in front of the houses of Erronius, Senex and Lycus.
'Comedy tonight' - Prologus and company
'Love I hear' - Hero
'Free' - Pseudolus and Hero
'The House of Marcus Lycus' - Lycus
'Lovely' - Philia and Hero
'Everybody Ought to Have a Maid' - Pseudolus, Hysterium, Lycus, Senex
'I'm calm' - Hysterium
'Impossible' - Hero and Senex
'Bring me my Bride' - Miles and soldiers
'That Dirty Old Man' - Domina
'That'll Show Him' - Philia and Hero
'Lovely' (reprise) - Pseudolous and Hysterium
'Funeral sequence' - Miles, Pseudolous and company
'Finale' - Company
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery Titus Maccius Plautus, formerly of Ancient Rome, has to be the most flattered, if not the least financially rewarded man in theatrical history. Born around 254 BC, Plautus is generally credited with bringing theatre down to earth by providing the audiences of his time with popular, coarsely vulgar and far more accessible fare to populate his plays. Plautus gave audiences a catalogue of stock characters that have enriched every kind of popular entertainment for over two thousand years. From the works of the Bard to burlesque, from Jonson and Moliere to the three Stooges. lt was he who created the timeless character of the ever resourceful, crafty slave; a nimble liar able to wriggle out of any tight spot with one tongue tied behind his back.
It was Plautus who gave us the self-infatuated braggart warrior, a man who would have to have been born twins in order to love himself more than he did. The comedy staple, the henpecked husband, ever ready to make amends for sins he has no awareness of having committed, was a Plautus creation, as was his counterpart: the domineering matron, tireless dispenser of all that guilt and henpeckery. Plautus's too was the moonstruck lad who longs for the romantic company of a virginal lass, with a body and mind as unused as the day she was born.
We are also indebted to him for two more timeless theatrical conventions: the dirty old man who runs after maidens with only the dimmest memory of what's to be done should he actually catch one; the other, the stumbling, doddering geezer barely able to see or to hear, but with an infinite capacity to make a fool of himself.
After dreaming up this clownish company of characters, Plautus armed them with a dazzling array of comic devices. An inventory of his contributions includes: "stand up" like opening monologues, puns, malapropisms, tongue twisters, double entendre, insults, slapstick, disguise, mistaken identity, mime, wit and witlessness. When a slave in Forum slips into a diaphanous gown, pops a blonde wig on his head and pretends that he is a fetching young thing in order to deceive an unwitting male, we are witnessing a piece of theatrical shtick that is now in its 2,000th hit year.
Prologus: Waine Grafton, Senex: Stuart Pavel, Domina: Donna Wainohu, Hero: Byron Spencer, Hysterium: Gordon Cope, Pseudolous: Waine Grafton, Erronius: Alec Watt, Miles Gloriosus: Neil Horton, Lycus: Mike Gibson, Tintinabula: Sarah Dunstan, Panacea: Bernadette Scott, The Geminae: Lauren Hearne, Lisa Burford, Vibrata: Lauren Whitmore, Gymnasia: Catherine Fenning, Philia: Ruth Strutt
Soldiers: Aline Christenson, Beryl Hamel, Ingrid Rothe, John Hamel, Kristen Adair, Marney Tilley, Robert Tumeth, Warren Bartik
Proteans: Ellen Fitzgerald, Janelle Warden, Robyn Slocombe
Eunuchs: Ben Mettam, David Paterson, Jim Harrop
Statue: Judy Graham
Conductor: Bruce Menzies, Repetiteurs: Robyn Bradley, Peter Maddox, Violins: Kate Chapman, Hugh Driscoll, Viola: Annie Chapman, Cello: Clare Chapman, Caitlyn Driscoll, Bass Guitar: Steve Thorneycroft,Woodwinds: Sharon Davidge, Judy Tudball, Janet Million, Chris Garden, Trumpets: Tony Jones, Terry Million, Frank Logan, Trombone: Simon Hughes, Katie Bradley, Drums: Chris Bradley, Keyboards: Robyn Bradley
Director's Assistant: Barbara Colledge
Stage Manager: Colin Barry
BackStage Crew: Len O'Riley, Marie O'Riley
Cast Call: Ceri Lea Mathew
Prompt: Diana Helmrich
Lighting: Lachlan Ashley, Simon Polson, Therese Scott
Sound: Dianne Murphy, Lissa Monk, Nick Monk
Publicity: Catherine Fenning, Marney Tilley, Neil Horton
Costumes: Aline Christenson, Barbara Colledge, Brooke Robinson, Christine Leger, Donna Wainoihu, Dorothy Pollard, Gwen Holley, Hannelke Raanhuis, Lyndia Scott
Set Design: Nadia Ozanne
Set Construction: Colin Barry, Gordon Cope, Len O'Riley
Set Construction Assistants: Jacia Wagner, Kate Horrack, Thomas Holt
Front Of House Managers: Bill Strutt (Finances), Isabel Strutt (Catering)
Make Up: Aline Christenson, Catherine Wright, Gwen Holley, James Rutten, Kate Nixon, Melissa Jovna, Mike Gibson, Rimi Kar
Orchestra Assistants: Len O'Riley, Luke Polson
Ticketing: Bryce Little, Margaret Kennedy
Finances: Isabel Strutt
Catering: Dorothy Pollard, Gwen Holley
Programmes: Jane Horton, Neil Horton
Photography: Brian Thomas, Heather Grigg
Front Of House: Alan Wilkinson, Anne Jones, Armidale High students, Beverley Jenkins, Bryce Little, Christine Leger, Claire Chaffey, Claire Horton, Coral Bell, Emma Horton, Frances Tafra, Garry Slocombe, Graeme Young, Jackson Burgess, James Menzies, Jane Watt, Jessia Kalinowski, Laura Horton, Marina Reader, Mavis Townsend, O'Connor Catholic High students, Phillip Watt, Sean Russell, Stephanie Miller, Susan Bell
Autumn Festival Float: Barbara Colledge, Donna Wainolhu, Len O'Riley, Lyndia Scott, Margaret Kennedy
Armidale High School for rehearsal venue, Café Midale, Martin Mantle for cinema graphics, Matt and all atThe Armidale Cattlemans Motel for sponsorship, Paul Lomas for assistance at the Showground, Showground committee for the rehearsal venue, TAFE students for assistance with set construction, Tim Clark for assistance at the performance venue.
Mr Kevin Hocking for musical arrangement of the Courtesans dances. The “Newie" and the Wicklow for displaying our banners.