Trending
MOST READ
SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the San Antonio... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

Food & Drink: Cheesy Jane’s. Multiple locations, cheesyjanes.com. If the name is any indicator, this San Antonio staple doesn’t mess around when it comes to... By Tommie Ethington 10/22/2014
Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Food & Drink: There was a special kind of draw at Alamo Ice House on a recent Tuesday evening. A handful of weeks after opening its... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/22/2014
A Closer Look: The ins and outs of a few important races

A Closer Look: The ins and outs of a few important races

News: For more than a year now gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott have dominated airwaves and secured way... By Mark Reagan 10/22/2014
‘Walking the Camino’ Explores a Treacherous Trek Through Spain

‘Walking the Camino’ Explores a Treacherous Trek Through Spain

Screens: In the Middle Ages, pilgrims walked the 500-mile El Camino de Santiago de Compostela as a pilgrimage to the tomb of Apostle St. James. It was an... By Stephen James Ross 10/22/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

‘The Haunted House’: A raucous Roman holiday

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Ain’t no party like a Roman slave house party


Roman playwright Titus Maccius Plautus’ Mostellaria is the rowdy forerunner of Risky Business and other movies in which teens transform their homes into dens of debauchery while their parents are away. Plautus is best known today because Shakespeare filched elements from two of his plays, Menaechmi and Amphitryon, to create The Comedy of Errors. Plautus himself was a literary scavenger, and it is believed that he adapted Mostellaria, written in the 2nd century B.C.E., from a lost comedy by the Greek playwright Philemon. Since the Romans plundered the Greeks for their theater, poetry and philosophy, it is only fair that Mostellaria be recycled into a contemporary American farce titled The Haunted House. Its adapter, Thomas Jenkins, chairs the department of classical studies at Trinity University. He is also a contributing writer to the Current.

Though the production, ably directed by Kyle Gillette, begins with a character addressing the audience in Latin, this raucous entertainment is anything but academic. It transposes the wacky action to a house in San Antonio, where young Gluteus Maximus (“What an ass,” puns one of his slaves) has installed Viagra (Sophie Bolles), a voluptuous flute girl he has purchased after borrowing $40,000. Gluteus’ sodden buddies move in, and a rollicking good time is had by all—until Gluteus’s father Cantakerous (Chris Champlin) suddenly returns by canoe after three years in Fargo, N.D. A cunning slave named Tranio (Rachel Joseph) staves off disaster by duping the old man into believing that his house is haunted.

Much of the merriment is the result not only of a hyperbolically implausible plot but also of deliberately obnoxious wordplay (“Now’s the time for the taming of the shrewd,” says Tranio). Flaunting the adaptation’s anachronisms, characters use cell phones, and one speaks of “going viral on Faceliber.” Topical references abound: “The greatest people on earth,” proclaims Tranio, “are Alexander the Great and Wendy Davis.” But most pervasive is the metatheatricality of the whole thing. Gluteus ostentatiously holds a copy of Plautus’ Mostellaria and later footnotes another character’s comment by observing: “That’s an allusion to Euripides.”

The fact that a couple of actors play multiple roles adds to the lunacy. William Mohammad Razavi doubles as one of Gluteus’ slaves as well as his neighbor, while Chris Kelly is variously Gluteus, Gluteus’ best friend Inebrius, and Inebrius’ slave Phaniscus. Kelly croons a pair of songs composed by Karim Al-Zand with lyrics by Jenkins. One, “Slavery 101,” is a blithe paean to the joys of servitude that echoes the outrageous sentiments and punchy melody of Mel Brooks’ “The Inquisition.”

“San Antonians,” Gluteus announces at the conclusion, “this moronic play is over.” With a dearth of the sage mirth found in comedies by Shakespeare and Molière, we laugh instead at the absurdity of sitting in a theater pretending to take this clever make-believe seriously.

The Haunted House

$10-$14
8pm Thur-Sat, 6pm Sun
The Overtime Theater
1203 Camden
(210) 557-7562
theovertimetheater.org
Through Oct 19

Recently in Arts & Culture
  • SA Design Maven D’Ette Cole and the Topography of Junk D’Ette Cole has been an artist, interior designer, antiques dealer and even a pie. Simply put, she notices everything, and has built her career on... | 10/22/2014
  • Failure Is Not an Option: George Lopez returns to SA It is evident comedian George Lopez is still a little sensitive about the on-again, off-again relationship he’s had with television. Whatever the... | 10/22/2014
  • Free Will Astrology ARIES (March 21-April 19): The driest place on the planet is the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. It gets about a half-inch of rain per year. And yet in 2011, archaeologists discovered that it’s also home to a site containing the fossilized skeletons of nu | 10/22/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus