Get up on stage with Temple Theaters production of On the Razzle as the actors and audience will engage in an intimate theater in the round.
“On the Razzle is truly the best of two worlds,” said Artistic Director Douglas Wager, who also directed the American premiere in 1982. “With both verbal and physical comedy, this is the only full out comedy-farce this season.”
Farce is theater jargon for a comedy filled with humor, satire and fantastical plots.
On the Razzle entertains with word play and physical humor ranging from hiding, mistaken identities and chases.
Revamped by Tom Stoppard, On the Razzle is an adaptation of Johann Nestroy’s 19th century Viennese farce, which later inspired Thorton Wilder’s Matchmaker which transformed into the musical Hello Dolly.
“Word play was part of original play,” Wager said. “It was a way for Nestroy to satirize the Austrian middle class and make a social commentary by the way they spoke.”
As Wager says, this play is quite an accomplishment. Stoppard was able to translate something that was almost impossible to interpret with so much timely and local vernacular.
“Stoppard was able to preserve it for an English-speaking audience,” Wager said. “And for someone who loved language, this was a true labor of love.”
Stoppard had an amazing ear for the way people used language to define themselves, which is apparent in On the Razzle.
Theater in the round introduces a new element for Temple’s actors and audience -it’s not a traditional stage setting.
As set designers create their stage, bleachers and seating areas will actually be placed on the stage, so forget about sitting in the audience.
“There’s no place for the actors to hide,” Wager said. “They’re being seen from a 360 degree perspective, so they can’t be in the background.”
Such a setting forces the actors to be more precise in their dialogue, and also means a lot more motion, since the picture is always changing from every angle in the audience.
“It creates much more immediate theatrics,” Wager said. As he explains, everyone is playing pretend on a more conscious level.
With true farcical nature, On the Razzle is about the tale of two grocery clerks in small town Austria. Sneaking away from their provincial town, they escape to the cosmopolitan Vienna, where a night of adventures awaits them.
The audience will get to enjoy true comedic situations filled with romance, switched identities, and plenty of narrow escapes.
“Its intent is to be funny,” Wager said. “And it reaffirms the fantasy of breaking free of our obligations.”
Kaitlyn Dreying can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.