The Players Club of Swarthmore Stages ARMS AND THE MAN, Now thru 1/25

Josiah Donnell (Boothwyn) as Serguis Saranoff with
Gil Johnson (Philadelphia) as Captain Bluntschli.
Photo by James Reese.

To chase those post holiday blues, The Players Club of Swarthmore will offer the classic comedy Arms & The Man on their Mainstage from today, January 10th thru January 25th, 2014.

Long before World War I shattered everyone's illusions about war, George Bernard Shaw used this play to do it, using laughs instead of bullets. Set during the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1895, the play tells the story of Major Petkoff's household-especially his daughter, Raina.

It is a chilly night in November and the Petkoff women can hear the battle getting closer. Raina loves the dashing Sergius (a soldier in the Bulgarian army) and romanticizes war. Shaw describes her as "...a young lady, intensely conscious of the romantic beauty of the night, and of the fact that her own youth and beauty are part of it..." Shortly after her mother leaves her for the night, a mercenary soldier in the retreating enemy army bursts through her bedroom window as he is running from the Bulgarian army. Captain Bluntschli first threatens her, and then begs her to hide him. Raina complies, though she thinks the man a coward, especially when he tells her that he carries chocolate crèmes instead of cartridges. He escapes in her father's coat, but later comes gallantly back to return it. As Raina labors to keep the lid on the resulting interplay among Bluntschli, Sergius, and the Petkoffs, she learns some things about love and war.

Shaw is considered one of the greatest playwrights in the English language. He used his wit to satirize a range of societal issues beyond war, including education, marriage, religion, government, health care and class privilege. As a result, much of his work still has relevance today. But this script has not been seen on The Players Club stage since 1956!

PCS veteran director Paul Kerrigan (Glenolden) cast Hannah Sisk (Wallingford) to take on the role of Raina Petkoff; Gil Johnson (Philadelphia) plays opposite her as Captain Bluntschli. Josiah Donnell (Boothwyn) appears as Serguis Saranoff, with Laura Christman (Allentown) as the sassy servant girl Louka, and R. Bruce Stewart (Swarthmore) as the loyal houseman Nicola. Playing Raina's parents, Catherine Petkoff and Major Petkoff, are Tatyana Duke (Philadelphia) and John Harvey (Swarthmore). Rounding out the ensemble is Thomas Wilcox (Malvern) as the Russian Officer.

Performances begin tonight, January 10th; Thursday performances are at 7:30 PM, Friday and Saturday performances are at 8:00 PM and Sunday matinees are at 2:00 PM. Group rates are available-consult the theater's website for more information. Reservations can be made either online at or by calling Theater Mania customer service toll-free at 866-811-4111.

The Players Club's Mainstage space is a fully handicapped-accessible, 300-seat proscenium theater with plenty of free parking in the club's adjacent lot. The Mainstage is equipped with Assisted Listening devices and also offers a separate handicapped restroom facility. For more information about PCS - including upcoming events, shows, ticketing and directions, visit

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