Montana Actors’ Theatre is bringing a British farce to Havre this weekend.
MAT’s production of “One Man, Two Guvnors” has performances starting Friday at 8 p.m. in the Little Theater in Cowan Hall on Montana State University-Northern’s campus.
The production will run the last two
weekends of January into the first week of February and is directed by MAT veteran director Audrey Barger.
Barger said she chose this play because last season she directed a serious play for MAT and thought a high-comedy production would be fun.
MAT Artistic Director Grant Olson discribed the storyline.
“Out-of-work musician Francis Henshall becomes separately employed by two men – Roscoe Crabbe, a gangster, and Stanley Stubbers, an upper class twit,” Olson said. “Francis tries to keep the two from meeting, to avoid each of them learning about the other.
“Complicating events, Roscoe is really Rachel Crabbe in disguise, her twin brother Roscoe having been killed by her gangster boyfriend, Stanley,” Olson continued. “Complicating events still further is local mobster Charlie the Duck, who has arranged his daughter’s engagement to Roscoe despite her preference for an amateur actor. Even further complications are prompted by several letters, a very heavy trunk, several unlucky audience volunteers, an extremely elderly waiter and Francis’ pursuit of his twin passions: Dolly, Charlie’s feminist bookkeeper, and food.”
Olson said he saw this play in England as he was studying for his doctorate degree and thought it was the funniest play he had ever seen.
“It is a very British farce, but it is based from a comedia tradition that is from a ‘Servant of Two Masters’ Italian play,” he said. This is the funniest play I have ever seen in my life.”
“It’s very farcical,” Barger said. “It’s very funny, so it’s going to be great for anyone who just wants to come and have a great time.”
Barger added that a skiffle band will be performing throughout the production.
Skiffle is a musical genre with jazz, blues and American folk music influences – commonly using improvised instruments such as jugs, washboards and kazoos along with more traditional instruments – that started in the U.S. about the turn of the last century. It was revived in Britain in the 1950s and is credited with influencing or even launching many bands and artists, including the Beatles.
“It’s fun music, it’s ridiculous,” Olson said. “Everything is ridiculous in this show.”
Barger said this is an adult production with adult humor and adult references.
“It is a little more adult comedy,” she said.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students, seniors and members of the military and free to Northern students with a valid I.D.
Doors and the backstage lounge will open at 7:30 p.m. Friday with the production scheduled to start at 8 p.m.