Ancient comedy “Miles Gloriosus” adapted to Clarion’s stage

September 29, 2015
miles gloriosus
Coleen E. Scheerbaum as Scaledra, pleading with Sam Atwell as Periplectonomus not to punish her, as Casey Martz as Palaestrio looks on, glad that he is being punished this time.

Clarion University Theatre will open the season with a play more than 2,000 years old: “Miles Gloriosus – The Braggart Warrior.” Show times are 8 p.m. Oct. 7-10 and 2 p.m. Oct. 11 in Marwick-Boyd Little Theatre.

Written in Latin by Plautus 2,200 years ago, the comedy features a boastful Greek captain, clever and conniving servants, an aged lusty next door neighbor, a beautiful courtesan and an innocent girl who is separated from her beloved. Each character is placed into a situation where hilarity ensues.

"Miles Gloriosus is a blowhard, a boastful braggart who exaggerates and is ultimately brought down," said Bob Levy, chair of the visual and performing arts department and the production's director and scenic designer.

The play was chosen for production because of its humorous streak. According to Levy, seasons of plays are planned based on four-year cycles. The department had not produced a classic comedy for a while: "Miles Gloriosus" fit the bill.

"In addition, I was intrigued by the piece and by working at creating a new adaption that had the familiar humor and pacing of a TV sitcom, keeping very much in the vein of Plautus, with lots of puns, jokes and physical shtick," Levy said.

Levy began adapting the play last year, keeping the same characters and plot, while changing the jokes and approach. His inspiration came from classic late 1950s and early 1960s sitcoms. By translating the play's original humor into modern references, he hopes to show attendees the play's humor runs from "intellectual to extraordinarily juvenile."

Cast members are: Colleen Scheerbaum, Natrona Heights, as Pinter (a herald) and Sceledra (a slave); Kiah Harrington-Wymer, Brookville, as Clurman, another herald and Caria (a scullery); Casey Martz, Brookville, as Prologus/Palaestrio, a slave; Logan Honsaker, Twinsburg, Ohio, as Pyrogopolynices (the captain); Sam Atwell, St. Marys, as Periplectomenus (a rich merchant and neighbor); Tori Heckert, Red Lion, as Philocomasium (a concubine); Nathan Bunyon, Collegeville, as Pleusicles (concubine's lovelorn suitor); Stephanie Bonnici, Birzebbuga, Malta, as Acroteleutium (a clever courtesan); Shayla Barrett, Johnston, as Milphidippa (her maid). Understudies are Benjamin Blinn, Munhall; Justin Baumgarten, Philipsburg; Gabrielle Kashner, Columbia; and Betsy Novotny, Homestead.

Theatre instructor Myra Bullington designed show costumes. Associate professor of theatre Edward Powers acts as technical director and supervisor of stage construction. John Dobson, Mercer, a senior technical direction and design major; Courtney Chaplin, McMurray, a sophomore technical theatre major specializing in stage management; and Thomas Feather, Windber, a sophomore technical direction and design major, designed lights, sound and properties. Cierra Southerton, Honesdale, a junior stage management major, is the production stage manager.

"Miles Gloriosus" is open to the public. Tickets are $15, available at www.clarionuniversitytickets.com, by calling 814-393-2787 or at the door (if available). Students are admitted free with valid university identification.

Last Updated 3/13/20