A classic tale of two vagabonds on a quest for love and fortune will unfold onstage at West Virginia University, with a quick-witted 18th century restoration of the production.
The WVU School of Theatre and Dance will present "The Beaux’ Stratagem," in the Gladys G. Davis Theatre at the Creative Arts Center. The show premieres Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with additional performances on Friday, and Dec. 1-5 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 6 at 2 p.m.
Originally written by George Farquhar, "The Beaux’ Stratagem," was first produced at the Theatre Royal in 1707.
The story follows penniless English gentlemen, Aimwell and Archer, on the pursuit of a wealthy woman to marry in order to fill their empty pockets. Leaving London, Aimwell and Archer travel from town to town, exchanging roles as master and servant in a scheme in search of riches.
Upon arriving in Lichfield, the two realize the majority of the characters seem to be disguising their true self for personal gain. Set on winning the hearts of beautiful and wealthy Dorinda and her equally desirable sister-in-law, Mrs. Kate Sullen, their disguises become increasingly challenging to keep, and the scandal becomes lost within the drama and chaos hidden in Lichfield.
An adaptation by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig of the age-old comedy adds a contemporary twist to the play.
The world premiere of Wilder and Ludwig’s rendition brought laughter and the celebration of a timeless story to life at The Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, D.C. in 2006. Ever since, the play has been cherished by those who appreciate British satire.
While Guest Director Richard Garner has remained true to the original production, the play’s dialogue subtly replicates the modernization both Wilder and Ludwig intended to present.
"This show is going to be filled with the unexpected," said Isaac Snyder, a WVU student playing the role of Aimwell in an interview with WVUToday. "Each character will connect to the audience in a way that will have people on the edge of their seats or rolling on the floor with laughter. Richard Garner has really brought life to this play and small group of actors. It’s going to be thrilling, fun and fast from beginning to end."
WVU students will play the roles of lovers, adventurers and villains.
The cast features MFA Acting students Lonnie Simmons, Imana Rachelle, Joe Gay, Andra Ward, Madeline Hintz and Joseph Bussey. Also featured are BFA Acting students Isaac Snyder, Maggie Dransfield, Stefanie LeMasters, Josh Clevenger, Woody Pond, Allison Chester, Ben Brooks, Afsheen Misaghi and Dylan Lack.
With damsels in distress and dashing sword-fight rescues, the performance will transport audience members back in time.
WVU students and the surrounding community are encouraged to see the production.
Tickets are $20 to the general public, $15 for students, senior citizens and children under 14, and $10 for groups of 10 or more.