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‘Hotel Paradiso’ at McPherson College Moves Bedroom Farce from France to New Orleans

This year’s theatre season at McPherson College has been marked by some surprising shifts in setting – Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” in a pirate cove, “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” on a gigantic artist’s drafting table, and the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare in a “steampunk” forest.

The final show of the season – “Hotel Paradiso” – fits right into the theme.

The classic French “bedroom farce” by George Feydeau and Maurice Desvallieres (translated by Peter Grenville) will be shifted from Paris, France, to the creole streets of New Orleans, La., for the MC performance April 15 and 16.

Mary Hughes, a 2008 alumna of MC and McPherson resident, is the guest director for the show and said she saw strong parallels between France and New Orleans. Even in the script there were clear connections, such as when a character speaks of the “honor of French chivalry” being at stake.

“You can put ‘Southern chivalry’ in there and it would fit perfectly,” Hughes said. “When we hit upon New Orleans for the setting, it’s like the lights came on,”

This is the senior show for Whitney Jefferson of Houston, Texas. She said that “Hotel Paradiso” starts off as a “spicy” performance, but the New Orleans settings and Mardi Gras colors of green, purple and gold in the set and costumes take it to a new level.

“We were thinking of ways we could spice it up even more,” she said, “or throw it off more… However you want to look at it.”

In “Hotel Paradiso,” the hero’s neighbor complains that her husband shows her no attention. So they make plans to steal off for a night of frivolity in a cheap hotel that charges by the hour. Set in 1910, the comedy comes from a series of unlikely arrivals of all characters. They sneak through the halls and rooms of Hotel Paradiso, trying to maintain propriety and avoid being caught in bad behavior.

Hughes said the show features a unique set – with cutaway walls that give the impression the audience is peeking into secret rooms – and period costumes, including corsets for the women.

“It changes the way they hold themselves and walk,” she said, “and it gives them a better feel for that period in time.”

The show will create an exciting evening for audiences, Hughes said.

“If they’re looking for an evening of fast-paced fun and entertainment, this will be the show for them,” she said. “It’s lively and has energy.”

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. Reservations may be made by contacting the theatre box office at 620-242-0444 or at theatre@mcpherson.edu.

Cast is: James Covel, senior, Wichita, Kan. (Boniface); Aubrey Hollinger, sophomore, Lyons, Kan. (Angelique); Whitney Jefferson, senior, Houston, Texas (Marcelle); Austin Crosby, sophomore, McPherson, Kan. (Cot); Grant Tuttle, sophomore, Lewiston, Neb. (Max); Madison O’Brien, freshman, Dighton, Kan. (Victoria); Logan Schrag, sophomore, McPherson, Kan. (Martin); Don Bell, sophomore, Kansas City, Kan. (First Porter, Policeman); Brett Crist, freshman, Quinter, Kan. (Second Porter, Policeman, A Duke); Karl Timmerman, junior, Tulsa, Okla. (Third Porter, Policeman); Georgia Smart, senior, Ormond, Australia (Violette); Callie Atkins, junior, Stillwater, Okla. (Marguerite); Whitney Murray, sophomore, Kansas City, Kan. (Paquerette); Aysia Pryor, freshman, Wichita, Kan. (Pervenche); Josh Hall, senior, Tonganoxie, Kan. (Anniello); Ashley Burch, freshman, Pittsburg, Kan. (Georgia); Karlene Tyler ’75, director of alumni and constituent relations (A Lady); Brandt Busse ’06, director of residence life (Tabu); Brenda Tejero, senior, Aurora, Colo. (Police Inspector).

Crew is: Mary Hughes ’08, McPherson, Kan. (Director); Joshua Hall (Stage Manager); Rick Tyler ’74, professor of speech and theatre (Technical Director, Set and Costume Design); Austin Crosby (Lighting Design); Nora Grosbach, sophomore, Evergreen, Colo. (Sound Design); Crystal Osner, senior, Conway Springs, Kan.; Ashley Burch; Nora Grosbach (Costume Shop); Austin Crosby; Lucas Jez, freshman, Westfield, Mass.; Mason Polston, freshman, Emporia, Kan.; Phil Reinhardt, freshman, Tenants Harbor, Maine; Karl Timmerman (Scene Shop); Kaleena Nelson, freshman, Spring Hill, Kan. (Properties); Abby Trenkle (Box Office).