Chances are slim that the typical college student budget will get you to Hollywood.
Even if it could, it’s doubtful to get you a firsthand look at “Saturday Night Live.” But never fear – the comedy and fun have begun at Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre.
“Lives of the Saints” by David Ives premiered last weekend as the opening show of the Schuster’s 2012-2013 season. Freshly hilarious and delightfully punny, “Lives” brought the audience a fresh spin on old ideas. The cast was led by the Rev. Shawn Clerkin, director and associate professor of theatre, in bringing seven one-acts cohesively to one stage.
Ives, a popular contemporary playwright, may be most well-known for his most recent hit. Author of the popular Broadway hit “Venus in Fur,” Ives is known for his zany style and witty writing.
“Lives of the Saints” is certainly no exception. “Lives” is an amalgamation of seven one-act plays into one outstanding piece of work.
The one-acts vary from the outlandish “Murder at Twicknam Vicerage,” in which the characters act out their own farcical version of the board game Clue, to the delightfully charming “Soap Opera,” in which a man falls desperately in love with his mother’s washing machine.
Clerkin and the “Lives” cast work their way through these one-acts, giving each a hilarious spin. “Enigma Variations” features four actors presenting two characters, or very nearly two characters.
The use of multiple actors on stage simultaneously playing the same characters surely presents some logistical issues. The cast, however, seemed to handle them with ease and showed the audience different looks of the same person.
The “bumbling buffoons” of “Babels in Arms,” senior Luis Pontillo and junior Keefer Kopco, are delightfully entertaining. The chemistry between the two makes the idiocy of the characters instantly comedic and captivating.
Portraying two construction workers enlisted to build the Tower of Babel, Kopco and Pontillo postulate some important questions: What is a lever? Where is God? Is God really what we think he is? How big is infinity? Is it pronounced ‘bay-buhl’ or ‘babble?’ The two actors put a new spin on an ancient idea.
Rounding out the show is the funny, yet alarming “Captive Audience.” The ordinary couple, played by Gannon alum J.J. Theisen and sophomore Khadija Djellouli, leaves the audience wondering about the role television plays in our everyday life.
The TV, played by junior Matt Kridel and senior Brittnie Knight, incites a hostile takeover in which the average couple becomes nothing more than TV itself.
All seven one-acts deliver a dose of laughter and more than a few good puns. Utilizing the writing styles of David Ives, Gannon’s cast makes good on their promise to open the Schuster season with a chuckle. Making the best of an unusual stage configuration, modernized music and the illusion of seven different sets, the players amuse and entertain audience members of all ages.
“Lives of the Saints” continues at the Schuster Theatre Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. As always, admission at the theater is free to Gannon students with an ID. For reservations, call 814-871-7494.