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'Comedy Through the Ages' Hits a Funny Bone

1grksx.jpg ~ The following was published in The Floyd Press, January 8, 2009.

The Young Actors Co-op (YAC) played to a full house in their last performance of Comedy Through the Ages at the Sun Music Hall on Sunday. The production took the audience through the history of comedy from the Greek classics to Saturday Night Live. The journey began with “Dawn of Man,” a skit in which a caveman slips on a banana peel. It ended with a futuristic scene in which a Captain Kirk character shared the stage with Princess Leah and Luke Skywalker and talked into a banana phone.

The historic scenes were introduced by “The Laughter Piece Theater” (a take-off on Masterpiece Theater) written by Haden Polseno-Hensley and played David Diaz, as “Paw Paw” in silk pajamas, and Marsden Woddail as his grandson.4cchap.jpg Marsden’s character played the straight man to the grandfather who was apparently getting misinformation about the history of comedy from the internet. The two actors provided a comedic structure for period and modern comedy scenes (and a chance for YAC members to change the sets).

Victorian melodrama, a scene from a Shakespeare play, vaudeville, radio, sketch comedy, and parody all figured into the production. A corrupt King, a hunchback, a harlequin (Italian jester), soap opera characters, and a dead parrot in a Monty Python skit played by Abraham Cherrix and Ian Gammarino were also represented.

Marsden Woddail (pictured above) performed comedy without out words as pantomime actor Charlie Chapman. Coriander Woodruff romped around the stage dancing, riding a unicycle, and taking pratfalls to “Make Em Laugh,” a song from the 1952 musical “Singin’ in the Rain.”
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Another scene, involving a cast of characters in a kingdom, enlisted audience participation by way of prompt signs that read “Boo” or “Cheer.” Actor’s lines were delivered with punch authentic sounding accents.

One high energy highlight was when the entire cast jumped off the stage for an MTV-like dance performance to Al Yankovic’s “Eat it,” a parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat it.”

Zany material by radio comics Burns and Allen was believably performed by Gammarino as George Burns, Belinda Burris-McGrath as the ditsy Gracie Allen, and others (pictured above).

Two months of practice and 159 (impressive) costumes were cited by cast members at the final bow. 7bows.jpg The group of thirteen actors thanked parents who were instrumental in bringing the production to the stage, writer Haden Polseno-Hensley, and YAC director Rose McCutchan.

Judging by the laughter and applause from the audience during the show, the tongue-in-cheek bios in the production program, and the bunch of bananas presented by the cast to McCutchan at the end of the evening, it’s clear that comedy is this group’s forte.

Post Notes: Watch video clips of Monty Python Dead Parrot, Beat it Dance, Make Em Laugh, The Sword and Styrofoam from the performance. For more information about YAC go www.myspace.com/FloydYAC

Comments

Very nice. You have a good "feature" voice for the paper. Good style. Love the last paragraph. Just enough!

Thanks! Coming from you, CountryDew, it means a lot.

Another great article by Colleen Redarticle. xo
PS The myspace.com is not coming through when you hit the link.

Sounds like some folks have a good sense of humor your way. Must have been fun.

A very well-written article, Colleen. Sounds like an impressive production--it's no small feat to cover the history of comedy, and it sounds as though they did it very well. Bravo!

what marvelous fun Sandy

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