‘Forum’ promises, delivers comedy
Published: Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Something familiar, something peculiar, something for everyone: a comedy tonight!” is the promise of the Black Hills Playhouse’s third play of the season, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” By the end of the night, that promise was delivered.
In a nearly packed house — with Gov. Dennis and First Lady Linda Daugaard in attendance — the cast of 18 took the stage with a song, a dance and hilarious lines.
“Forum” was written by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, with music and lyrics provided by Stephen Sondheim, and first opened on Broadway in 1962. It has won several Tony awards. Even though the script is over 50 years old, there’s not a single joke that doesn’t get a laugh, proving it’s the king when it comes to farce.
Inspired by the farces of the ancient Roman playwright Plautus, specifically “Pseudolus,” “Miles Gloriosus” and “Mostellaria,” the musical tells the story of a slave named Pseudolus (Eric Johnson) and his attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master, Hero (Nate Rocke), woo the girl next door, Philia (Ceci Quintero), a virgin of the neighboring courtesan house, who is already promised to a Roman general (Hayden Kraus).
As a way to help, Pseudolus, an excellent liar, uses Philia's cheery disposition to convince Lycus (Joshua Carroll), the owner of the neighboring courtesan house, that she has picked up a plague from Crete, which causes its victims to smile endlessly in its terminal stages. By offering to isolate her in his master’s home, he is able to give Philia and Hero some time alone together and the two fall in love.
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