University of Mississippi theatre students hope to hear plenty of laughter as they perform Steve Martin’s adaptation of “The Underpants” Tuesday through Sunday (Feb. 16-21) in Meek Hall Auditorium.Curtain time for evening performances is 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinee performances Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $10.50 for general admission, $8.50 for seniors and children and $7 for UM students with valid IDs. Tickets are available at the UM Box Office in the Student Union or by calling 662-915-7411.
Director Rory Ledbetter said the satirical play is a comedy that exposes society’s attraction to fame. The show is an adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s 1910 German farce, “Die Hose.”
“Ole Miss Theatre chose to do ‘The Underpants’ by Steve Martin because we wanted to have a contemporary comedy on our season and also thought the comedian’s name would attract many patrons,” Ledbetter said. “I think it will appeal to many people because it contains lots of different types of comedy, such as some zany slapstick for lovers of Charlie Chaplain and ‘I Love Lucy,’ as well as some absurd word humor for fans of movies like ‘The Jerk’ and ‘LA Story,’ both written by Steve Martin.”
Playing the role of strait-laced military clerk Theo Maske, Flowood native and senior theatre arts major Neill Kelly said that even though his character is the epitome of misogyny, he is still lovable.
“This play has a lot of bawdy humor and a great deal of innuendo and double-entendre in the writing,” Kelly said. “The physical action that takes place only heightens the comedy of the show.”
The troupe has been working diligently on the performance since the start of the spring semester, Kelly said. With four weeks of rehearsal before the play’s debut, the production’s physical comedy had to be rehearsed and perfectly timed, he added.
“One of the hardest things to do is not laughing on stage because everyone in the cast is funny to watch and work with,” he said.
Freshman theatre arts major Angelica Spence plays the part of Louise, Theo’s dutiful wife.
“My character (Louise) feels like it’s her job to live the life she does, which is that of a wife who cleans, cooks and takes care of her husband,” Spence said. “She thinks that is the way things are supposed to be, but inside she really is a daydreamer who craves love and passion while dreaming of romantic fantasies simply because her husband and she have no real love.”
The Lilburn, Ga., native said it has been a privilege to work with such a talented cast and director, and he is looking forward to hearing the audience laughing as loudly as possible.
“I want the audience to enjoy the production as much as they possibly can,” she said. “Their enjoyment is all dependent upon us (the cast) and the passion and love for what we are doing that we as a cast perform.”