Tragedy tomorrow but comedy tonight
BEAVER CREEK We will employ every device we know in our desire to indulge you, said Robert Wagner in his opening scene in the Vail Valley Theatre Companys rendition of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, written by Steven Sondenheim. The phrase perhaps best describes the larger goals of the all-volunteer cast as they prepare for their opening curtain tomorrow at the Vilar Center for the Arts. The play opens with the song Tragedy Tomorrow, Comedy Tonight and that theme remains consistent throughout the remainder of the production. The song describes the play best nothing thats formal, nothing thats normal. Trish Schultneis, who acts alongside her daughter Christina, called the play a mix of slapstick comedy, vaudeville comedy, one-line zingers and sexual innuendos. Schultneis plays a voluptuous courtesan. This is the most Rated-R show Ive ever acted in! said Rebecca Richardson, 18, who plays multiple parts in the production. Im just so excited to do musical theater, she said. The actors range in age from 15 up, but all of the actors are in awe of one anothers talent. Its really funny sometimes they dont seem like kids, said John Tedstrom of his younger co-actors. Were so lucky to have a really talented cast, said Josie Sutner, who plays the female lead.
Director Beth Swearingen gushes over her actors. and Swearingen has been encouraging the actors to take notes and practice at home. This is Swearingens first experience with Forum, and shes delighted in the experience. All across the board, Im so proud of them, she said. Im thrilled. The play is just so naturally funny. The writing is excellent. Rehearsals, however, have not been all fun and games. Don Watson fell and injured his arm, and Wagner got extremely frustrated when cues werent followed precisely. Emily Sacks shoe broke. Still, all the actors are confident about opening night.
There comes a point in rehearsal where things just click, said actor and costume designer Sack. I havent been in a show for years and years, so it is so exciting for me to do this play. All the actors auditioned several weeks ago and have been participating in nightly rehearsals, so by now everyone knows their lines and songs. The play is filled with humorous advice, like never fall in love during a total eclipse.I saw the production in Denver and our version is better, said theater board member Suzanne Foster. Its a raucous comedy about mistaken identities. Its probably the funniest thing to come to the Vail Valley in a long time theyll take it over the top, (and) its going to be a lot of fun.