“Charley’s Aunt” is as relevant as when it was written in 1892, but the best way to enjoy Brandon Thomas’ classic farce is to keep it set in that time period.
That’s the opinion of Chris Foster, whose community theater experience as a director and a performer the past 30 years makes him a pretty good authority on any subject related to the stage. He’s directing the Curtain Call Theatre production opening Friday and running through Dec. 19.
“I think there are things, conventions within Victorian etiquette, that have to be observed in order for the play to make sense,” said Foster, who has directed and performed regularly at Curtain Call, Albany Civic Theater and Schenectady Civic Playhouse. “We’re leaving it in 1892 because that is when it was written, and it really fits that time period.”
The play, first produced at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds in Great Britain nearly 125 years ago, is about two undergraduates at Oxford who persuade a classmate to impersonate a millionaire aunt and serve as a chaperone for them and their two girlfriends in town for a holiday visit.
WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 210 Old Loudon Road, Latham
WHEN: Opens 8 p.m. Friday and runs through Dec. 19; show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $24
MORE INFO: 877-7529, www.curtaincalltheatre.com
Evan Jones and Jacob Luria play the two college students, while Nate Beynon is Lord Fancourt Babberly, who impersonates Charley’s aunt, and Pat Hoffman is Donna Lucia d’Alvadorez, who actually is Charley’s aunt.
“It’s a very well-made play, and I enjoy the inter-generational conflict going on, the mistaken identity, the love scheming and all that kind of stuff,” said Foster.
“It’s about two guys trying to hook up with two girls, and there’s only one really PG moment, maybe two. It is a family friendly play that will be enjoyed by everybody.”
Like most farces, the play is a good example of what an ensemble cast is like.
“Well, the guy that dresses like a woman gets a lot of stage time, but what’s lovely about it is that it is a very well-written ensemble piece,” said Foster. “The playwright has a little something for everybody in the show.”
Also in the cast are George Fileau, Tracy Henry, Siera Lynch, Jennifer Van Iderstine, Rob Weber and Patrick White. Frank Oliva did the did the scenic design and Beth Ruman is the costume designer.
In Saratoga Springs tonight, The Creative Place International will put on a production of “Master Class” starring Broadway veteran Anny DeGange as opera diva Maria Callas. Written by Terrence McNally, the show will be performed tonight, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
DeGange, whose Broadway credits include “Les Miserables” and “Evita,” will be directed by her husband, Ron Holgate, winner of a Tony Award for his performance in “1776” in 1968. Their daughter, Chloe Holgate, a 2014 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, is also in the cast along with Eleah Jayne Peal and Angelo Mazzone.
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or [email protected]