A romantic comedy fitting for the season

Moonlight Troupers to present a farce set in 19th-century Vienna

April 12, 2001|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Anne Arundel Community College's Moonlight Troupers present their spring production - Tom Stoppard's adult farce "On the Razzle" - in a two-weekend run beginning tomorrow at Pascal Center for the Performing Arts.

Set in 19th-century Vienna, the comedy centers on men looking for adventure and women seeking romance. Based on Austrian playwright Johann Nestroy's 19th-century farce "Einen Jux will er sich machen" - the source of Thornton Wilder's "The Matchmaker," which later became "Hello, Dolly!" - Stoppard's play is filled with wordplay, mistaken identities, spoonerisms, malapropisms, double entendres and puns.

Kenneth Plumley, student assistant to the director, promises that anyone who enjoys slapstick and one-liners "will love this unbelievably funny production with its sexual innuendoes and puns."

According to the director, Barbara Marder, AACC associate professor of speech and theater arts, spring seemed a time for something light - a comedy about romance, and a balance to the troupe's dark fall presentation, "Gypsy." Marder also notes that "Razzle" will "give our students an opportunity to have roles that are challenging for them."

Marder acknowledges that she "adores" Stoppard. "We have wanted to do one of his shows for a long time. Stoppard is terribly witty," she says.

The title refers to what happens when Zangler the grocer, departing to be in a parade in Vienna, leaves his head clerk and apprentice in charge, and they immediately take off - go on the razzle.

"Here the script is filled with plays on words. In addition to the physical humor with lots of running and hiding, we've had a lot of fun with designing the set that gives numerous places for the characters to hide, to pop up, which is the essence of farce - the British favorite kind of humor," says Marder.

Heading the 17-member cast is veteran actor Ken Sabel as Zangler, the middle-aged, self-important proprietor of a gourmet grocery store, who mixes up words.

Zangler's chief clerk, Weinberl, is played by George Johnson, who was Wilbur the pig in Moonlight Troupers' "Charlotte's Web" - and who is happy, he says, that "we get to do a fast-paced farce to show what Moonlight Troupers are really capable of doing."

The inexperienced apprentice clerk, Christopher, is played by Peter Moses. Others in the cast include Evan Baxter, Denean Short, Katie Bowerman, Kelly McPhee, Karla Elliot, Joan Ashwell, Amy Neff, Rob Reichert, Kyna Worthington, Mike Nichols, Kenneth Plumley, Dominic D'Andrea, Mike Coe and Kevin Bilbelhausen.

Set design is by Joy Ajello, who says "this set has been a challenge because the show takes place at a store, a fashion house, a restaurant, a Vienna flat and a garden."

Lighting and technical director is Robert Kauffman, department chair of performing arts. Mike Smith is assistant director. Dave Johney is stage manager.

Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. April 22 - the only Sunday show.

Tickets are $8 for general admission, $7 for senior citizens and organized groups and $6 for AACC students, faculty and staff members. Tickets: 410-541-2457.

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