Pirates, “Peanuts” and a police murder mystery are just a little of what audiences can expect for the 2015-2016 theatre season at McPherson College. This year, the performing arts department at MC will be presenting some classic tales and audience favorites, some with new twists on the familiar tales.
The season kicks off with the season’s oldest play, but with a new twist – “The Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare, showing Sept. 10-12. While the lines haven’t been changed and it still happens in Padua, Italy, this production uses costuming, accents and the stage set to place the Shakespeare’s classic comedy in a Caribbean pirate cove. In the comedy, a father has two daughters – the younger one beautiful and the older sharp-tongued and strong-willed. The younger has a multitude of suitors, but they have no chance of marriage until the older sister is married first. Enter a charming, dashing, brash young man up for a challenge. He determines that he shall tame this “shrew” and all bets are placed against him. And maybe he will be tamed by his new bride in return.
Next, comes a stage adaptation of one of the most beloved comic strips of all time, with “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” by Clark Gesner, showing Oct. 2-3 and 9-10. Just imagine what might take place on Charles Schulz’s drawing table when no one is around. The cast of endearing young six-year-olds made famous in the “Peanuts” comic strip have a heyday recreating moments from all the days of Charlie Brown – from Valentine’s Day to baseball season.
On Nov. 13-14, come see “The Great Cross Country Race” by Alan Broadhurst, a retelling of Aesop’s Fable of the race between the tortoise and the hare. Animals in the woods cannot find anybody to compete with the overconfident hare in the cross-country race, until the slow-moving tortoise agrees to challenge him. A series of diversions for the fleet-footed hare continue to throw him into altercations with “humans,” as the tortoise plods steadily and relentlessly on to the finish line. In the end… but, well, we all know how it ends, right?
The next play comes in the spring semester, and it’s a classic murder mystery – “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie, showing March 4-5. This is the world’s longest running play by one of the best mystery writers of all time, and has celebrated more than 60 years on the London stage. A group of strangers is stranded in a boarding house during a snowstorm, one of whom is a murderer. The suspects include the newly married couple who run the house, a spinster with a curious background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift, and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone. If you already know the twist ending, please keep it to yourself!
Rounding out the offerings for the year will be “Hotel Paradiso” by George Feydeau and Maurice Desvallieres (translated by Peter Grenville) showing April 15-16. When the neighbor’s wife complains that her husband shows her no attention, the henpecked hero makes plans to whisk her out for a night of frivolity. Originally set in Paris in 1910, McPherson College will instead transport the production to New Orleans, where this bedroom farce finds an assortment of characters stealing through the halls and rooms of a cheap hotel.
All shows start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to all shows cost $5 for adults and $3.50 for children ages high school and younger as well as seniors. Theatergoers may also obtain a First Nighter’s Membership, which costs $75 for an individual, $150 for a double membership and $225 for a family membership. Membership includes show admission for the entire season as well as a student-produced dinner themed to the production served before every show. Reservations may be made by contacting the theatre box office at 620-242-0444 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.