Wednesday, April 1, 2015

CUSTOM MADE THEATRE Presents the World Premiere of Plautus MAJOR BLOWHARD

Custom Made Theatre  Presents the World Premiere of The Braggart Soldier, or Major Blowhard, by Plautus, adapted and directed by Evren Odcikin. Evren has brought the best of comedy Dell’Arte and the modern sitcom, from a translation by Deena Berg, proves that Roman comedies are still part of our mainstream subtext.  
Plautus influenced both Shakespeare and Bard, and can be traced in modern comedy today as late as Broadcast TV sitcoms like the “Simpsons”, “Married with Children”, “Threes Company” and so many others. Plots of three of his plays were combined to create Sondheim’s “A Funny Thing Happen on the Way to the Forum”  
The Braggart Soldier follows the scheming clever slave, Dexter as he employs his trickery to reunite his master and girlfriend while making a fool out of the Braggart Soldier. All depends on persuading those he deceives that the girlfriend has a twin sister, who just happens to be visiting at the house next door. The plot unfolds in typical sitcom bedroom farce style with characters popping in and out just in the nick of time to avoid being caught in the deception.
Director Evren Odcikin brings the story a modern edge with a colorful set and company of players that are truly funny. Odcikin wrote  “There is an inherent sexism in the original play that we’re attacking head-on. The female parts are significantly expanded and we are even reimagining the ending. It also makes the play much funnier to a modern audience.” The costumes fit the in your face color scheme and sexual subtext of this production, all created by Keiko Shimosato Carreiro.
Plautus was by far the most popular playwright of his time. He had an intimate understanding of what made Romans laugh. Even a rowdy, drunken holiday crowd could be brought to silent, rapt attention with the simple announcement “We bring you Plautus”.

CMT brings that Plautus experience to their Gough Street Playhouse. Including a line in the program that warns their audience “The Vomitoriums are closed so use your own bucket”.
The host or slave Dexter, is played by Alan Coyne, who is on stage for most of the hour and forty five minute romp. Evren keeps Coyne bouncing all over the space and Coyne shows off his excellent comic timing. Major Blowhard is the perfect idiot played well by Kai Morrison. Matt Gunnison is cast as the servant slave Haplus and does some amazing juggling of props and the game of hide and seek. The old man Hospitalides the Buster Keaton of the show - is played by the very funny Jef Valentine. Jef has one of the best eroitc costumes and walking cane prop that says it all, during his sex play with Covivita the girlfriend played by the talented Eden Neuendorf.

Odcikin created the classic whore and dominatrix played by the fabulous Catherine Luedtke, and gave her the name Climax. She has a great scene with The Braggart Soldier with legs spread wide and the Major in full bloom. Its very funny and well done.  This willful destruction of artistry brings to mind the brilliance of TV pioneers Ernie Kovacs, Mel Brooks, Sid Caesar from the sketch show “Your Show of Shows”  They could never get away with full eagle spread, but Plautus did and the amazing Evren Odcikin brings it all back in this hysterical fast-past production.

Its well done, great comic timing and shenanigans. Come see what audiences have been laughing at for over 2200 years.

Maccius Plautus’s
The Braggart Soldier, or MajorBlowhard
Adapted and Directed by Evren Odcikin
from a translation by Deena Berg

With Eden NeudendorfCat Leudtke, Matt Gunnison, Darek Burkowski,
Alan CoyneJef Valentine,
and Kai Morrsion as Major Topple D’Acropolis
 photos by Jay Yamada

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - April 
Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough Street in San Francisco
Runs March 27-April 26; Thurs-Sat 8:00 pm, Sun 7:00 pm
Tickets $20-40
Learn more & buy tickets at (415) 798-CMTC, 

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