Canebrake Players prepare for performance of British farce See How They Run

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 4, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; With a cast of eight, the Canebrake Players have been diligently preparing for opening night of &8220;See How they Run,&8221; a British farce written by Philip King, which will be presented this at 7 p.m. on Friday

at the Old School on Main Theater in Demopolis.

The production process has been one filled with camaraderie according to Audrey Hamilton, the play&8217;s director. Not only has the cast been brushing up on their Cockney accents and British jargon, but they have also been donning paintbrushes and other tools to help assemble the sets.

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As for the show itself, Hamilton said it is one with wide appeal for both young and old audience members.

The play is full of subtle references, innuendos and British vernacular, some of which Hamilton said she and her cast had to do some research on.

Although some of the terms used in the play are not as common or even used in America, Hamilton chose to produce the play in its original form with little to no editing. She said the clever nature of script is such that everyone can enjoy the dialogue, even without knowing what most of the words actually mean.

Another important aspect of the play is the cast of characters, which range from the completely sarcastic to the totally uptight.

In addition to a host of memorable characters, the play itself is an exercise in slapstick comedy with seemingly normal circumstances very quickly go awry.

The play is set in 1943 in the living room of the Vicarage at the fictitious village of Merton-cum-Middlewick. The majority of the action culminates in a cycle of running figures, some dressed as clergy, and some very confused on what they&8217;ve witnessed.

The lead character is Penelope Toop, former actress and now wife of the local vicar, The Rev. Lionel Toop. The Toops employ Ida, a Cockney maid.

Miss Skillon, a churchgoer of the parish and a scold, arrives on bicycle to gossip with the vicar and to complain about the latest troubles Penelope has caused.

Comedy ensues when Clive Winton, who is an old friend of Penelope, stops by on a quick visit. Without knowing who is home and who isn&8217;t, the whole troupe gets caught up in a series of misunderstandings and confusions as Penelope&8217;s uncle, the Bishop of Lax, arrives early for his visit.

Since the show is a traditional farce, the actors will be performing physical comedy, which Hamilton said is something audiences can relate to.

There are a few new faces to join the stage with the Canebrake Players for their first production of the year, including Jamie Yarbrough, who plays Ida, and Harris Nelson, who plays the Russian man.

Hamilton, who did her undergraduate work in theater, co-directed &8220;The Little Foxes&8221; last year with Kirk Brooker as part of the first annual Hellman-Wyler Festival. She remembers the play as very serious, so she decided she wanted her next directing effort to be one to showcase her background in comedy.

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