The Community School Players will present "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, based on the book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, from Nov. 4-7.
"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" is based on characters and ideas from four comedies by the Roman playwright Titus Maccius Plautus, who lived from about 254 B.C. to 184 B.C.
Plautus' comedies, of which 21 have survived, have influenced the history of show business, said the play's director, Fritz Brun. Plautus and his slightly older Greek colleague, Menander, invented the basic ingredients in what has been considered comedy for more than 2,000 years, which include an introductory prologue, an intricate plot, mistaken identities, the comic aside in which a character talks directly to the audience and numerous stock characters that have been updated again and again until the present day.
< "It's the first time I've directed this show at the Community School," Brun said. "Shows are always dictated by the actors, and this year we had the ideal cast."
Brun said the musical has been in his head to do for years, and this year it fell into place with the students who wanted to do it.
"There are a lot of similarities between ancient Rome and modern Americans," Brun said. "It's very witty and very funny."
The Romans are stressed out, hysterical, greedy and dishonest. In addition, they are confused and befuddled as well as pompous. Everyone is obsessed with sex yet desirous of appearing respectable, but for all their flaws, they are very lovable.
Brun said the Community School Players have taken to the show like ducks to water with their sense of comedic timing, high energy and preparation to do theater.
"I love the costumes," said a Community School Player in the show. "We are all singing the songs through the halls of school."
Students who participate in theater at the Community School are doing it by choice. It's an optional activity and many students make the time in their full schedules to participate.
"It's very popular," Brun said. "And, it's cool for boys to act."
Sabina Dana Plasse: firstname.lastname@example.org
What: "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"
Where: Community School Theatre in Sun Valley
When: Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 4-6, at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 6-7, at 2 p.m.
Cost: Tickets are $10 adults and $5 students, available at the door and at Chapter One Bookstore in Ketchum. For details, call 622-3955, ext. 133.