Double Dose of Classic Comedy Coming Up at UofSC Lab Theatre
The UofSC Dept. of Theatre and Dance will present a double-bill of two classic Peter Shaffer one-acts, The White Liars and Black Comedy, September 23-26 at the Lab Theatre.
Show times are 8pm nightly. Admission is $10, and available only at the door. The Lab Theatre is located at 1400 Wheat St., on the first floor of the Booker T. Washington building.
The two clever one-acts by acclaimed playwright Sir Peter Shaffer (Amadeus, Equus) have delighted audiences since they premiered in the mid-1960s. In The White Liars, directed by student Lane Christopher, a down-and-out fortune teller is visited by two new clients, each hoping to use her wiles to manipulate the other. In the uproarious Black Comedy, directed by student Curtis Smoak, a young artist tries to impress both his fiancé's father and a haughty art dealer by "borrowing" his antique-collecting neighbor's expensive furnishings. When the neighbor shows up unexpectedly in the midst of a power outage, our hero frantically attempts to return the stolen goods and keep his unknowing guests "in the dark."
Christopher says audiences can expect to be intrigued by not just the story of The White Liars, but also by its intensely heightened melodrama. "This isn't an inherently funny script itself," she says, "yet the situations of the characters are utterly ridiculous, making [it] a perfect chance to explore comedy and drama."
Outlandish farce is brought to the fore in Black Comedy, a highly physical comedy which ups the ante with a bit of ingenious lighting. When the play begins, it's performed in complete darkness. When the story's "power outage" occurs, however, the theatre's lights turn on, giving the audience an uproarious vantage point on the main character's ever-increasing crisis as he trips and falls around the apartment while feverishly trying to keep his ruse under wraps.
The cast of The White Liars features Nicholas Good, Tristan Hester, Alex Long, and Cameron Shaw. The Black Comedy cast is comprised of Thomas Duncan, David Neil Edwards, Owen Heckman, Olivia Hensley, Will Hollerung, Mason Howard, Verity Moring, and Landry Phillips.
It promises to be an evening of hilarity, but with a degree of underlying self-observation, says Christopher. "Both of the one-acts discuss the modern obsession with social standing, and attempt to flip this obsession on its head with a few laughs. Together they should make for a surprisingly introspective evening."